My dear people of God,
Christmas is in the air. We see beautiful lightings and decorations in Orchard Road and elsewhere, people are busy buying new clothes and gifts, preparing parties and dinners.
All these create a joyful atmosphere but is the true meaning of Christmas being taken into account? Where is the place of Christ? Christ must be the centre of our celebrations for there is no Christmas without Christ!
We have cribs in churches and in many homes. This is a wonderful portrayal of the first Christmas but what is most important is not to have the image of the baby Jesus in the cribs but to have Christ in our hearts.
To welcome Christ into our hearts we must dispose ourselves. First and foremost we must keep sin at bay.
This story of Leonardo Da Vinci, the great artist, drives home this point. While he was painting the Last Supper, he had a quarrel with a friend and exchanged nasty words. He then painted his friend’s face as Judas.
He went on to paint the face of Jesus but in spite of all his efforts he could not succeed. He reflected on his inability and came to the conclusion that he must seek reconciliation with his friend. After the reconciliation he went back to his painting. He changed the face of Judas and he succeeded to paint the face of Jesus!
This episode is to impress on us that we are unable to come into contact with Jesus unless we repent of our sins.
And so, dear friends, to welcome Jesus into our heart this Christmas, we must first of all repent of our sins, to be pure in heart and be at peace with our fellowmen.
Repentance is the first step and must be followed by love which is the meaning of Christmas: “God so love the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son.” Christmas is God’s language of love. To celebrate Christmas we are invited to speak and promote this language of love.
We must first of all speak this language of love in our families – to our spouses, our children, our parents, our siblings. We must make use of our gifts, talents and resources to reach out in love and service to our parish communities, our neighbourhood, our workplace and also to all we come into contact with, especially the poor and needy.
Let us dispose ourselves to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas making Christ present in ourselves and fellowmen through love. A Blessed Christmas and a Spirit-filled New Year to you. God’s blessing be upon you.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
Archbishop Nicholas Chia