ISLAMABAD: As the Christian community celebrates the festive occasion of Christmas in Pakistan, along with those across the world, priests in the country have urged members of the Christian community in the country to uphold the true spirit of Christmas by sharing the joyous moments with the destitute and the needy.
"Christmas is not mere jubilation. It is about sharing the season's happiness and blessings with the poor, needy and sick, the true preaching of Jesus which must be carried as a permanent theme of the event," stated Islamabad United Pentecostal Church (UPC) Bishop Khalid Pervaiz while speaking to the media on Monday.
He reiterated that Christmas was a day to forget and forgive egos, to set aside personal differences.
"The blessed rich should spread the message of sharing and especially think of those needy who cannot afford even basic amenities and embrace them to mark this big day with gratitude and reverence,” stated Imran at the St Joseph’s Cathedral in Rawalpindi.
“Do arrange clothes, food and as much as you can to satisfy your souls and fulfil religious obligations," he stated. The Christian community in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi are enthusiastically involved in decorating their houses, Churches, schools. They have decked the traditional Christmas tree with shining ornaments ahead of the big day.
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Gabriel Sigamony, a resident of Rawalpindi, said that and that Christmas celebrations were incomplete without decorating a Christmas tree and setting up the crib. He added that the traditional decorations have been used for generations in his home to mark the day.
“The tree symbolises a strong connection between Christianity and Christmas and becomes a centre of all celebrations to exhibit our love for the day,” Sigamony explained.
He claimed that the cross Jesus was crucified on was referred to as a "Tree" in scriptures.
"December 25 is a day of double celebrations for us,” remarked Latif Daniel, a school teacher at St Mary’s Academy in Lalazar.
“As Pakistanis, we also celebrate our Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah's birthday,” he said, adding that since it is winter and the school is in recess until the new year, he can celebrate the occasion with ease.
"Some People may paint their entire house, purchase new furniture, and almost every Christian family buys a Christmas tree and decorates it in their home," remarked Francis Fernandez, who teaches music to students in the twin cities.
“There is another significance of the Christmas season and that is most often engagements and wedding ceremonies are also planned and arranged in this week of celebrations so that couples can mark their events with everlasting memories of their matrimonial life," said senior citizen Joseph Masih.
A group of young Christian boys at a church in Sector F-8, Islamabad said they had spent the entire week preparing hectically for the day by shopping for clothes and gifts, painting and decorating houses and churches to mark the day.
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They had also purchased gifts to distribute amongst the poor and deserving to ensure their participation in the event.
"I have planned to entertain my visiting guests with different culinary delights which including a Christmas cake along with traditional dishes such as mutton pulao," claimed Naheed William.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2018.