Dec. 17: As dusk sets in, the city starts twinkling in bright colourful lights. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees and bright stars of Bethlehem hanging from rooftops fill one’s heart with joy.
This is the magic of Christmas and everyone is busy soaking in the Yuletide spirit.
The Christian community is participating in pre-Christmas celebrations that are being organised by different churches across the city. The youths, in particular, are busy rehearsing for the time they will move out for carolling. Last week, different churches got together to celebrate pre-Christmas festivities at Don Bosco School auditorium in Panbazar.
“Our monthlong Christmastide celebrations began on the first Advent Sunday of this month and will conclude with the Feast of Epiphany on January 6. While the Advent season marks the coming of Jesus Christ to this world, Epiphany marks the occasion when Jesus is manifested as the saviour of mankind before all people. During the pre-Christmas celebrations, we offer prayers and perform the holy communion — offering of sacred bread and wine before the Lord,” said Rev. Michael Herenz, presbyter of Christ Church, Panbazar.
“The youths set out on carolling from December 10 to 16, during which they visited the homes of members of our church to sing carols and exchange greetings. We will celebrate the festival of nine lessons and carols on December 22 which will include reading of holy scriptures from the Bible and special prayers for prevalence of peace in the world, followed by singing of carols by our own church choir. They will sing in Assamese, Bodo, Garo and Sadri languages,” Rev. Herenz said.
Christmas eve will be marked by a midnight mass in different churches followed by a bonfire in which a large number of people from other faiths also participate with much enthusiasm. During Christmas, people will visit the church in the morning to attend service, after which they will be seen merrymaking with friends and family.
“We celebrated pre-Christmas along with other churches this time. This was marked by a prayer service and singing of hymns to the Lord. The youths will also start going for carolling a few days before Christmas. While on Christmas morning we have the special service, we will have a cultural programme by the youths of the church in the evening. We will also have a community feast of the members of the church on the day after Christmas,” said Azizul Haque, pastor of the Panbazar Baptist Church.
“It is our duty to help the poor to bask in the joy of Christmas. Like every year, this time, too, we have arranged a meal for underprivileged children in our church. We will also give them gifts as well as play and sing with them. The women members of our church will also visit an old age home to spend time and give gifts to the elderly,” Rev. Herenz said.
“Charity is an integral part of Christmas and this year the women’s wing of our church will be visiting an old age home and donate essential things to the elderly,” Haque added.