The National,Friday23 December 2011
THOSE who argue that religions have run their course and are consigned to the scrap heap are becoming more convincing.
Wars, atrocities, natural disasters, the dramatic increase in domestic violence and breakdown in the family units add weight to their arguments. There seems to be no end to the hostilities in almost every corner of the globe, even in the Holy Land where the Lord Jesus Christ spent His time on earth.
Scanning the news daily becomes a depressing affair with all the senseless loss of lives due to violence and natural disasters one gets to read about.
This Christmas, as we view all that is happening around us and reflect on a year when old certainties have been shaken, it is a natural reaction to be doubtful and uncertain.
But all is not lost. In fact, there is hope. The foundations of faith upon which Christianity stands remain a solid bedrock for those who believe.
They provide confidence that life is not without purpose and that we will all see God’s great plan in its perfection one day.
In Papua New Guinea and around the world, this is the message that we need to share with our friends, family, relatives, work colleagues and neighbours during this festive season.
In fact, during this Christmas, let us plan to turn to our families with warmth and with love knowing that the human spirit by which all good people are linked is not destroyed, not even harmed, by isolated acts of evil.
People of this land have just come out of a fortnight filled with uncertainty and suspicion in which their very own security and safety have been put at risk. It is most likely they will face the same difficulties on the side of the festive season.
But this long Christmas weekend, let us all take a deep breath, spend some quality time with our loved ones and share the message of Christmas – one of hope, goodwill and love.
The Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament tells us of the first prophesy of hope for all mankind – the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Chapter 7 verse 14 says: Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign, behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Immanuel. Chapter 9 verse 6 says: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
The New Testament provides the description by witnesses of the time Jesus Christ spent on earth. It provides the texture and substance of belief for Christians, a source of strength and comfort to believers. That fact remains true today in PNG and the rest of the world.
Christmas is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar. Millions of families the world over look forward to the festive season each year to celebrate the birth of the Jesus Christ.
The significance of that birthday to the world is not lost on those who believe in the everlasting love bestowed on all mankind by the Almighty.
It is not only Christians who celebrate the day but also people from other faiths – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, for example – who draw parallels in the religious teachings and messages in the various religions based on love, sacrifice, tolerance and peace.
There are important values inculcated into everyone brought up in Christian families based on love and respect for other human beings.
In this nation where goodwill, understanding, tolerance and kindness are in abundance, the people can safely look to the future with hope and confidence.
In the face of all the evil and negative things happening around us, the many obstacles we face every day, the message of Christmas brings comfort and joy.
Let us, therefore, this Christmas look forward with hope and trust in renewal for the life forces are still strong.
Let us also make it safe by helping police maintain law and order and keeping the community safe. For those who will enjoying the break at home with their families, spare a thought for those who will be working to ensure essential services such as the hospitals, fire service, water supply and power supply are functioning.
In every family in PNG, let love be the theme of this Christmas.
The management and staff of The National wish all our readers a blessed and safe Christmas.