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For most people St. Valentine's Day is a day of affections and confections, a day of kisses, chocolate, and flowers. But just as Christmas is about more than gifts, so too does Valentine's Day have a deeper meaning.
The true romance of the celebration begins with the legend of St. Valentine in roughly 270 AD.
St. Valentine was a holy priest who was arrested and imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and for aiding Christians who were being persecuted during the reign of Claudius the Goth (Claudius II). He was brought to prison where he was tortured in an attempt to make him renounce his Christian faith. When Valentine instead tried to convert Claudius, he was executed outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14, about the year 270.
One legend says, while awaiting his execution, couples for whom he had conducted marriages brought him flowers and gifts to show their respect and admiration. This led to today's traditions of presenting your Valentine with gifts. It is also said that, while imprisoned, he restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter and that this miracle led to his eventual canonization. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14 as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
The legend of St. Valentine is a tale of true love that transcends mere sentiment. Its noble purpose should inspire everyone in this new time of religious persecution to be equally vigilant and heroic in upholding and defending the traditional definition of marriage presently under assault from secular humanists. Let St. Valentine be our model and inspiration for life and humanity.
- Paul Kokoski
Lyford Cay Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce that its Gifts and Grants Committee is currently accepting applications from Bahamian non-profit and charitable organisations who wish to apply for an award.
Freeport, Grand Bahama - In December of last year, the
Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA)
donated gifts to the underprivileged children of Grand Bahama as they
have been doing for several years, but this time they wanted to do more.
Staff of Norwegian Sky a member of
FCCA decided that rather than exchange gifts between themselves, they
would pool their monies together to purchase more gifts for the kids
of Grand Bahama. The staff members were able to gather $400 between
them, which they used to purchase school supplies. The school supplies
were then presented to the Grand Bahama Children's Home, and Freetown
The year 2011 has been a trying one for many. Families are still in mourning for the 122 people murdered this year; many are fearful over the continued global economic woes; and the roadwork issues in New Providence have led to much discussion and displacement.
In the run-up to Christmas Day, we all get giddy and shop to buy gifts for those close to us. There is nothing wrong with a material demonstration of love and affection. But along with spending those dollars on jewelry, clothes, electronics and other goodies, we should remember to do something considerate for the less fortunate.
Reputable organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Ranfurly Homes for Children should be considered for donations during this season. These organizations, and many more, help the less fortunate and desperate during their trials and tribulations. We should be considerate, out of general human compassion, for those they help. Each of us could be there, needing a hand up, as a result of a bad circumstance or bad decisions.
This spirit of helping and giving is what this season is about.
Communities are enriched when those who are doing well are concerned enough to assist those in trouble.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force has upped its patrols and presence for the holiday season - as is customary. We are confident that these hardworking men and women will do their best to minimize harm to the citizenry.
However, we must also be smart. When shopping in commercial districts, park in well-lit areas and do not leave any valuables visible in your cars.
Limit the amount of money you expose to the public when shopping. It is not wise to pull out rolls of hundred dollar bills in a store in front of hundreds of people you don't know.
After Christmas, when all the gifts have been taken out of their boxes, do not just place those boxes outside near garbage containers. Those labeled boxes let thieves know what you have in your house. Flat screen TVs and computers are popular items to the dishonest. Simply take those boxes, break them down and place them in opaque garbage bags and no one will be able to see those new gifts.
And most importantly, be vigilant. When in a commercial area, or nearing home, always be aware of your surroundings. If you think you are being followed call police or drive to a police station.
There is a crime problem in The Bahamas - particularly in New Providence. You should not think that the issue is being exaggerated just because it has not happened to you yet. If you are vigilant and take all reasonable precautions the likelihood of you being a victim lessens.
Parents should advise their children too about safety during this holiday season. Many parties will take place and kids will be coming home late at night or in the early hours of the morning. We must all be cautious.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- In December of last year, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) donated gifts to the underprivileged children of Grand Bahama as they have been doing for several years, but this time they wanted to do more.
Staff of Norwegian Sky a member of FCCA decided that rather than exchange gifts between themselves, they would pool their monies together to purchase more gifts for the kids of Grand Bahama. The staff members were able to gather $400 between them, which they used to purchase school supplies. The school supplies were then presented to the Grand Bahama Children's Home, and Freetown Primary School.
Mrs. Sandrea Bullard, Acting Principal at Freetown Primary School says, "The joy brought to the students as a result of the FCCA's generosity will be one that will have a lasting impact on our students." She also wished them blessings in their future endeavors.
Ms. Brennamae Rolle-Cooper of the Grand Bahama Children's Home says, The donation is being made at a much needed time, and would "go a long way in assisting our children with their academics." She sincerely expressed much appreciation for the crew's generosity.
The Christmas season is fast approaching and with it will come endless shopping, much decorating, abundance of tasty treats and everyone's favorite, gift giving.
There is not a single person alive who does not like to receive gifts at Christmas time. If he or she does not, then they must be related to Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch.
In your grandparents' time having idle hands may have seemed like a terrible thing but ministers of the Word say far worse than this is an idle spirit. They say when it comes to the fifth cardinal sin--sloth--the greatest danger isn't in physical laziness as one would assume but rather spiritual apathy. An idle spirit is God's greatest challenge because while you may not be outrightly evil, a lack of initiative or a willingness to turn a blind eye to a troubling situation contributes to evil occurring and thriving on earth.
Father Deangelo Bowe, rector St. Peter and St. Anne's Anglican parish in North Abaco, says slothfulness is more than just about sleeping late constantly, dragging your feet in your work or using one's spare time unwisely. This sin, although much more passive than the others--pride, lust, greed, gluttony, envy and wrath--is just as dangerous because it facilitates evil to happen and also leads to the decay and destruction of the human soul.
"Sloth is outright laziness. It is not just about physical laziness but it occurs on a deeper level when you are emotionally and spiritually apathetic," says the priest. "God has a plan for all of us and if we are lax in listening to Him and fulfilling our purpose we are exhibiting slothfulness. We need to be active in doing what God has planned for you."
"It's beyond being idle. From the Christian prospective we are all called to be active in winning souls for Christ. God gave us special gifts to use in order to do this but if we are too lazy to use them or better them you will lose them and eventually lose your soul."
The Anglican priest says much like not taking care of your physical body leads to obesity and ill health, not taking care of your spiritual body will also lead to decay, dystrophy and ultimately death.
It is important to get your exercise in the Lord by walking with Him and in His ways daily. Doing your part in spreading the Word of God in your own unique way is also a good way to exercise your faith.
Father Bowe says whether you are an active person in society and are always on the go, not embracing God's purpose for you or putting off strengthening your spiritual life is just as valid an example of slothfulness as the young man that sits on the block day in and day out.
"In all aspects of life you need to be active and worship God. We cannot let worshipping God go to the wayside," he says. "The same thing applies to keeping up with your family life and even social life. You have to give each part of your life a chance to grow by putting some time and effort in it. Not doing so causes you to be weak or deficient in your life.
"Many people do not live full and effective lives because they only paid attention to one aspect of it. Some people need a wake-up call when it comes to their family life or don't pay enough attention to their professional life and they suffer. You lose out on touching people and utilizing your full potential by not waking up and taking action in your life in time."
Pastor Gil Maycock, co-pastor of Abundant Life Bible Church, says God condemns those who do not use their gifts wisely and instead choose the easier and unchallenged path of doing nothing at all.
"When the Bible talks about being slothful, it means being sluggish or lazy and God's word discourages that kind of behavior and activity in the believer's life," he says.
"The Heavenly Father doesn't want us to be lazy no matter if it's in business or one's spiritual life. We are called to be productive and industrious in all aspects of our lives. If we are truly representing God and His standards through the light of our lives we need to do better. You cannot be lazy and say you are of God. That lifestyle is not becoming of a Christian and it doesn't represent who God is and wants us to be."
The minister says, in fact, there are many warnings and points in the Bible where Jesus speaks to the disciples about the wages of the sluggard. In Matthew 25 Jesus told his disciples the parable of a master and his three servants. When he left them he gave one servant eight talents, another two and the last servant He gave one. The first two invested their talents and doubled what their master gave them while the last servant chose to dig a hole and hide the investment entrusted to him. Upon the master's return the first two servants were praised while the last servant was rebuked.
In verses 24-30 the master said to the servant, "You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn't sow, and gather where I didn't scatter. You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest.
"Take away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him who has the 10 talents. For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away. Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
According to Pastor Maycock, "This parable was meant to give an example of the fate of God's people who do not use their talents wisely. He giveth so much to many men and yet they fail to utilize their gift.
"Jesus shows that such people have no place in God's kingdom. An eternity of fire and damnation awaits them for their indulgence in this particular sin. God equates slothfulness to wickedness and will give your talents to those who are productive.
"Also, in Romans 12: 11 the Apostle Paul makes note of how important it is not to be slothful in business but instead be fervent in spirit and serving the Lord. Furthermore in II Thessalonians 3: 7 he talks about the importance of working for what you receive. I firmly believe in this and do not believe in giving people money freely who can work but choose not to even if I find something for them to do to earn it. This does not create character and it is not the Christian thing to do to always support the sluggard instead of encouraging him to work as God intended every able man to do. "
Pastor Henry Higgins of Creative Christian Arts Ministries International says giving into slothfulness is one of the worst things a man can do because he cheats himself and those who he was meant to touch out of God's gift to them.
"Slothfulness is laziness and it is not a good thing at all," he says. "It is not working toward fulfilling the purpose God has given you. It hinders you from not hearing God and allowing Him to lead your life. Sometimes the reason for it comes from fear, past experiences with failure or for many it is even inherited. Some of our family has the spirit and we just carry it as well. It is hard to shake off and many do not know how to overcome it. They let it control their lives and they accomplish nothing at the end of the day."
The pastor says the best way to tackle this deadly sin is to see and understand that it is first and foremost a mindset. "You have to learn to shake off the feeling of doing nothing by continuously pushing yourself even when you don't want to do it," he stated.
The minister believes God doesn't use lazy people and that "if you want God to move in your life you need to be heading somewhere and actively seeking Him out."
An example of people assuming God will just give them a handout is when they pray to find a job but aren't actively looking for one. He says more people need to understand that it is slothful to wait on the mercies of strangers or always feel others need to bless you just because you think they should. Everyone should be trying to make their own way and when it isn't enough, God is there for you.
"Many people are gifted but are stuck or blocked from their true potential by worrying about the cares of life," says Pastor Higgins. "Many of us will never realize just how much better we can be because we let slothfulness take over our lives. We need get the full blessings of God or acquire the wealth He has for us to inherit because it is often tied to our assignment in life.
"So when you choose to do nothing and leave your spiritual life to rot then expect to get nothing. God works with he who will try to help himself."
Over the next two weeks, The Nassau Guardian will engage a number of ministers of religion on the topic of the Seven Cardinal Sins. They will dissect each one and talk about relevance of the deadly sins to the twenty-first century societies.
Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes encouraged patrons at the Ministry of Education's Festival of Carols to give gifts of compassion this Christmas that will uplift their fellow men.
The Ministry of Education's Festival of Carols has been captivating its patrons and reminding them of the true meaning of Christmas for over 50 years. It is an event frequently patronized by governors general during their term in office.
This year, Jewel Dean, senior education officer for performing arts in the Ministry of Education and coordinator of the festival, staged a one and half hour program of traditional Christmas presentations that featured the musical, dramatic and dance skills of students from both independent and public schools in New Providence. The event was held at the Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries, Carmichael Road.
Dignitaries attending the event were the governor general and Lady Foulkes; Minister of Education Desmond Bannister; Secretary to The Cabinet Anita Bernard; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Elma Garraway; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Nicole Campbell; Director of Education Lionel Sands; Ministry of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis; and Dr. Iva Dahl-Regis-Brown, manager/consultant of BTVI.
T.A. Thompson students Fredricka Wildgoose and Emmanuel Petit skillfully moderated the program. Boykin Smith of St. Anne's School delivered the customary welcome while various students including Anshanty Armbrister of the Salvation Army School read the scripture announcing the Birth of Christ.
It was agreed by many of the special guests including Reverend Carla Culmer and former educators that the carol service was one of the best ever held. One of the crowd pleasers was the "Silent Night Medley" performed by the E.P. Roberts Primary School Violin Ensemble under the directorship of Flora Simpson. Another crowd highlight was the twins, Mark and Anthony Johnson of H.O. Nash Junior High School, who performed several Christmas favorites such as "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem". The duo always amazes audiences with their powerful voices.
C.V. Bethel Senior High School Music Instructor Lorenz Burrows delivered another original score, "Jesus We Treasure You", which his school's choir sang. Claridge Primary School's skit entitled, "The Greatest Gift of All" proved to be humorous but conveyed that the greatest gift is still Jesus.
The minister of education brought greetings to the congregation, applauded students for their extraordinary talents and noted that it is encouraging to know that many of our youth are involving themselves in wholesome, positive activities that will enable us to move forward, upward, onward and together as a people.
Sir Arthur Foulkes admonished the students to follow the example of the Wise Men who when they found baby Jesus opened treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The governor general encouraged them to "give comfort to the bereaved, clothes and food to the needy and hope to those in despair. Let us be sure that in our giving, Jesus is not left out."
For more photos, check out our online gallery at www.thenassauguardian.com.
Nassau, Bahamas - The Wyndham Nassau Resort's Count on Me Committee dressed up in Santa Claus suits recently to deliver ho-ho-hope to the Children's Ward of the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH). Committee members donated fifty Christmas gifts, and fifty miscellaneous items requested by the ward for the children.
The Staff of Wendy’s Cable Beach once again delivered holiday cheer, and a sleigh full of Christmas gifts to the children of Great Commission Ministries. Keeping the six-year tradition going strong, team members from Wendy’s Cable Beach once again rallied together to provide over sixty gifts for the annual children’s party hosted by Great Commission Ministries.
“The Wendy’s family have truly adopted our Children’s Christmas Ministry, and we are so thankful to Stacey and her crew for their faithfulness and generosity over the years,” ...