Finding the true meaning of Christmas in Asia

Finding the true meaning of Christmas in Asia

A low-key festive season without the usual pomp can be a beacon of hope and inspiration

Rock Ronald Rozario Rock Ronald Rozario, Dhaka Updated: December 25, 2020 07:22 AM GMT
Finding the true meaning of Christmas in Asia
Policemen patrol as Catholic devotees attend a Christmas Eve Mass maintaining social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outside Quiapo Church in Manila on Dec. 24. (Photo: AFP)

Christmas has arrived for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth at a time when the world is still shivering under the spell of a mortal adversary.

The global coronavirus pandemic has hit the most celebrated Christian feast, which usually comes with much enthusiasm and fanfare.

The fear of death continues to dominate the festive season. Billions of Christians across the world have been forced to cut short Christmas celebrations both spiritually and physically. This is unprecedented for believers of Christ who upheld their faith against great adversities like war, famine, plague, natural disasters and tyranny.

In the time of Covid-19 amid restrictions on movement and gathering and strict health guidelines, Christmas has fallen into a black hole.

For the first time in known history, Christmas for most people will be marked without Santa Claus, family reunions, caroling, Masses and parties. Many people will be missing from family tables during this holiday season as some have died from the virus and others are fearful of the contagion and death.

Undoubtedly, fewer Christmas cribs and Christmas trees were sold across the globe this year, as market reports suggest.

Many Christians have decided to give up on decorating and illuminating houses and churches this year. They have also cut their Christmas spending due to the economic fallout from job and income losses caused by the pandemic.

For most Catholics, this Christmas will be a gloomy and solitary affair with the regular Christmas spirit missing.

Catholics are obliged to confess their sins to priests once a year and many do it days before Christmas. Many have abstained from seeking this spiritual nourishment this year.

In Asia, where Christians are a minority except in the Philippines and Timor-Leste, Christmas used to be the landmark event of the year — the stamp of the minority Christian presence in most parts of Asia.

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