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Christmas comes, Christmas goes: What is it to us?

KENINGAU – In a message released for the Season of Advent on Dec 1, Keningau Bishop Cornelius Piong called on Catholics to prepare well so that they may celebrate Christmas well.

As modern – day ‘commercial’ celebration of Christmas has managed to fritter away its real meaning, he is not surprised to hear nonchalant remarks as Christmas once again draws near “Christmas comes, Christmas goes” without any outward signs of deep and meaningful impact on the human life.

In his message, the Keningau prelate strives to heighten our awareness that “if we acknowledge and appreciate God’s plan of salvation for humankind in the Incarnation (Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ), we will certainly be able to celebrate Christmas not only externally, but also to see it as an opportunity “to renew and strengthen in Jesus Christ, ourselves, our families and our communities”.

Christmas is in fact the “celebration of our relationship with God, fellow man and God’s creation”, underlined Bishop Piong.

He explained the beauty of God’s plan for humankind “Through Jesus, God reveals His union with us, his closeness and faithfulness.”

In his strongly worded message, the prelate insists that we should really ask ourselves prior to Christmas “How should I respond to this Love of God
so that I may be a channel of this Love for humanity and all Creation?”

Recalling the recent celebration o f t h e Extraordinary Mission Year, Bishop Piong refers to its theme “Baptised and Sent”, and maintains that
our mission is really to “share Jesus and touch the life of others through our sharing of the Good News and through the offering of communal service”.

Contrary to our mission, the world is on its mission to rob us of the presence of God in our life through the attraction and influence of
materialism and hedonism (pursuit of self-indulgence and pleasure); to blunt our heart to sin because Jesus is no longer the Lord of our life; and not turning to the Word of God for illumination and guidance as a way
of life.

Once again, with Advent the Church has given the people a way and a chance to prepare, both personally and communally, to repent, and to reinstate Jesus as “first in our life”.

Throughout the Season of Advent, let us then remember that Jesus is the
only expression of God’s everlasting Love, who is the Source, Reason and
Purpose of the Christmas celebration that we are looking so much forward to. A blessed Advent! – CS

Click to read full text of Bishop Cornelius Piong’s Advent Message

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