SANDAKAN – The Sandakan Christmas Celebration, a district-level event, jointly organised by the Karamunting ADUN’s Office, the Sandakan Municipal Council and the Sandakan Inter-Church, was held at the Piazza Harbour Mall on 20 Dec 2015. More than 1,500 people turned up to be part of this big and colourful celebration.
James Wong, President of the Municipal Council, in his speech urged the people not to take for granted the peace, stability and prosperity of the nation built over the years. “Continue to nurture it so that the generations to come will be people of goodwill, sowing peace and upholding tolerance.”
Charles Pang, assemblyman for Karamunting, said that the Christmas season is a time for families to spend quality time together. However, he reminded the people that in the festive joy, let us not forget the plight of the less fortunate, living in the periphery of society. Let us share our love with them, reaching out and touching them.
Accompanied by the MPS president, the chairman of the organizing committee, church leaders and local dignitaries, Charles lit the Christmas tree, marking the start of the celebration, themed ‘Peace On Earth.’
Rev Canon Yong in his Christmas message called on the people to build peace, peace with God, peace with oneself, peace with others as we celebrate Christmas.
Meanwhile Bishop Julius Gitom, in his thanksgiving speech, said that Christmas is not purely feasting and merrymaking. He called on the people to gaze more attentively on the mercy of God by reaching out to those living in the fringes of society, the poor and the marginalised. As followers of Christ, he said, we are constantly reminded to act in accordance with Luke 6:36, ‘Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.’
The prelate continued, “During this Christmas season, may we reflect and rediscover the works of mercy; feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick and visit the imprisoned. By doing all these, we would have done it to the Lord for in each of these ‘little ones,’ Christ himself is present. Our gift might not mean much, but to those in need, it makes a great difference. Make this season a meaningful one for us and those who are less fortunate. Do not keep the Christmas joy within but share it with our brothers and sisters who yearn for the light of Christ.” – DS