Christians world over mark Christmas today, signifying the birth of Jesus.
Christmas is the most sacred religious holiday in the Christian calendar worldwide. However celebrations will be subdued today owing to the coronavirus and its impact, with travel restrictions imposed in several parts of the world.
Here at home churches holding services over Christmas are restricting numbers with many churches having opted for online services to avoid crowds gathering as a COVID-19 precaution.
The main service was held at the Tewatta Church – Basilica of Our Lady in Ragama.
The service was conducted by Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis offered a timeless message during a Christmas Eve Mass to a world upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mass was celebrated at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says Christmas is a noble religious feast that rejoices, bringing love and peace not only for Christians in Sri Lanka and across the world, but for all mankind.
In his Christmas message President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the spiritual essence of Christmas is the redemption of all by serving for the good of the society.
The Head of State said Christianity shows the way for a lifestyle of goodness liberated from the darkness of sin by eliminating misconceptions through noble teachings such as peace, kindness and love.
President Rajapaksa said in the face of the current global pandemic, this year’s Christmas season is to be celebrated in accordance with health guidelines.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa says God’s love must be shared with all this Christmas season. Issuing a message to mark Christmas the Premier said God’s love and human dignity were a reliable foundation for a society that accepts humanity.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said those with wonderful hearts share peace, and loves the enemy who hates them.
The Prime Minister said it’s up to the people to bring new meaning to a world shattered by the COVID pandemic, as well as to make Christmas meaningful through the good wishes of hope.
Meanwhile, Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has requested Christians to celebrate and enjoy festivities without forgetting the true spirit of Christmas.
Issuing a special message for Christmas, the Archbishop said although the public is focused on gifts and festivities, Christmas is a time to remember the poor and the unfortunate.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith noted that baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem and was laid in a manger and therefore this is a time to remember those facing hardship.
Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith noted that the country and the world are currently facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic issues and therefore, Christmas should be celebrated while remembering the unfortunate.
He requested all Christians to be mindful of the other and remember the true Christmas throughout the season.