LAHORE: Preparations for the Christmas have gained momentum with churches in Lahore having finalised arrangements for the occasion.
The major churches in the city have been decorated the traditional way with Christmas trees.
“The biggest congregations on the Christmas takes place at the Naulakha Church, the Cathedral Church and at Youhanaabad. Hundreds of Christians attend mass prayers,” Pastor Zafar Iqbal told The Express Tribune.
“This day teaches us forgiveness. It is the day of the birth of a great forgiver. This is the day when everyone forgets their worldly worries. When Christians dress up on Christmas morning and attend morning prayers, they vow to forgive all who have wronged them and seek forgiveness from those who they may have hurt. This is what the spirit of Christmas is,” he said.
Sumaira John, a teacher, said she celebrated Christmas with her family by making traditional dishes and attending a morning service. “Christmas fruitcake is a special delight of the day. These days, many bakeries in the city offer Christmas cakes, but baking it with ingredients of your own choice is always a fun. That’s what I like to do,” she said.
She said Christmas prayers at the early services end right at midnight. The participants wish each other a merry Christmas.
“These days, artificial cypress trees are available. Many Christians place them in their homes.”
While Christians are preparing for Christmas this year, there are others who complain of rising inflation. Napoleon Qayyum, a human rights activist, complained that many factories have not paid salaries to Christian workers to celebrate the day.
“Even some Christians working on government projects haven’t got their salaries before Christmas, which is really sad.
During the month of Ramazan, the government sets up Sasta Bazaars and provides subsidies at utility stores and our Muslim brothers get some relief. No such bazaars are established for Christians around Christmas,” he said.
Qayyum also complained that Youhanaabad, the largest Christian locality in the Punjab, hadn’t been cleaned up. He said construction material was lying at the bus stop near it. “We had demanded that a cleanliness campaign be launched at Youhanaabad on the Christmas, but no one heeded our demand,” he said.
Pastor Shahid Miraj said special prayers for peace in the country would be held at the Cathedral Church.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2012.