To: All Clergy and Lay Leaders of the Church
We are all preparing for the Christmas celebrations where our focus is mainly connected with the traditional Christmas parties, carol singing, dramas and other festive events. We will soon be immersed in the society around us that promotes various sales and bazaars, dinner dances, extravagant decorations, supermarket goodies, cakes, ingredients etc. We Christians consciously or unconsciously, very often tend to get attracted by these external extravaganzas and miss the real meaning of Christmas and are often dragged into worldly ‘tamashas’ in the name of Christmas.
We need to remind ourselves that the ‘Incarnation’ points to one of the greatest sacrifices that God has made for all human beings. He emptied all His glory, power and authority in order to save you and me from the clutches of sin and slavery and for that He was born in a stable. Sacrifice and humility are hallmarks of what God has done for us at ‘Advent’. It is because of this matchless sacrifice that God made for us that we could experience forgiveness of sin and enjoy the fullness of life.
Therefore, it is important that as we prepare for Christmas, that we do a sincere soul searching within. Do we really understand the sacrifice God has made for us? Are our celebrations on par with what God has done for us? In order to sincerely do that, we need to be vigilant as a Christian community, so as not to be absorbed into a commercialized and extravagant Christmas that the world offers us.
We call all our faithful to spend time reflecting upon the true meaning of Christmas and to use this time to experience and encounter our God and strengthen our relationship with Him, Who was born amidst us, in order to redeem and save us from sin and free us from all forms of social injustice. All our celebrations should enable us to value the salvation we cherish, to experience the inner peace that Christ’s birth brings to us and to reflect peace and goodwill among all people. This will also help us worship the Child Jesus in spirit and truth.
Therefore, we urge all our faithful to be vigilant. Be vigilant of being co-opted into a commercialized Christmas and instead focus on the spiritual meaning of the ‘Incarnation’.
Attached herewith are some concepts and suggestions be distributed among our congregations, which include few simple but meaningful ways for celebrating Christmas and to avoid being involved or absorbed in ‘tamashas’ of an extravagant commercialized Christmas.
We also call for a day of prayer on the 22nd of November or on any convenient date to you in order to prepare ourselves to understand the meaning of Christmas and seek God’s guidance towards an appropriate way of celebrating the same. We need to remind ourselves that in the Orthodox tradition, a time of penance, fasting and prayer precedes the celebration of Advent.
Let our celebration be meaningful, appropriate and enable us to prepare to meet the coming of our Lord.
Rev. Heshan De Silva – Chairperson of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and President, Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya
Rt. Rev. D.R. Canagasabey –Bishop of Colombo, Church of Ceylon, Diocese of Colombo
Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando – Bishop of Kurunegala – Church of Ceylon
Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel S. Thiagarajah, Bishop of Jaffna Diocese, Church of South India
Rev. Asiri P. Perera, President/Bishop, Methodist Church of Sri Lanka
Rev. Saman Perera – President, Presbytery of Lanka
Rev. Shirley Faber, President, Christian Reformed Church
Colonel Yousaf Masiah, Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army
Rev. G. Nadarajah, President, Lanka Lutheran Church
Rev. Michael Dissanayake, Chairperson, Assemblies of God of Ceylon
Rev. Leslie Keegal, President, Church of the Four Square Gospel Church in Sri Lanka.
Rev. T. Thevanesan – President, the Church of the American Ceylon Mission
Rev. W.P. Ebenezer Joseph, General Secretary, National Christian Council of Sri Lanka
The NCCSL also represents the following Ecumenical Organizations:
Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)
Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)
Student Christian Movement (SCM)
The Ceylon Bible Society
Christian Literature Society
Theological College of Lanka.
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Colombo Theological Seminary
Youth for Christ
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