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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sandakan Christmas Celebration 2015 ~ 'Peace On Earth'

By DS and photos 
courtesy of G.Bell
The crowd that thronged Piazza Harbour Mall
Sandakan : The Sandakan Christmas Celebration is yet another attraction to the people of Sandakan. The district-level event, jointly organized by the Karamunting ADUN's Office, the Sandakan Municipal Council and the Sandakan Inter-Church was held at the Piazza Harbour Mall on Sunday 20th December 2015. More than 1,500 people thronged the said venue to witness the big and colourful celebration.
Yang Berbahagia Datuk Ir James Wong, the President of the Municipal Council, congratulated the Organizing Committee for their commitment in realizing the event for the people of Sandakan. In his address to the people, he said, 'Do not 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. This joint event is a clear indication that NGOs are playing their roles in maintaining and improving national unity, giving rise to harmonious relations among people of diverse cultures, backgrounds, religions and race.'
  
YB Tuan Charles Pang, the assemblyman for Karamunting, in gracing the occasion said that the Christmas season is a time for family members to spend quality time together enjoying the company of each other. However, he reminded the people that in moments of 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. He called on the people to renew their commitment to grow as a united people for the glory of our beloved nation, Malaysia.
Accompanied by the MPS President, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Church Leaders and local dignitaries, YB Tuan Charles lighted the Christmas tree, marking the start of the celebration, themed 'Peace On Earth.'
Energetic yet colourful dances by the young members of 
the Anglican Church at the start of the event

Rev. Canon Yong in his Christmas message cited the three criteria for a successful nation viz; excellent health care services, strong and solid economy and security. However, to maintain and sustain that 'success, ' we need to be grounded firmly in spirituality. Failing which, we may lose our peace within us, in the community, society and nation. The Prince of Peace came to grant us peace, a priceless gift for all mankind as in John 14:27, 'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.'' Canon Yong called on the people to build peace, peace with God, peace with oneself, peace with others as we celebrate Christmas and prepare to move towards yet another year, 2016.
Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of  the Catholic Diocese of  Sandakan in his thanksgiving speech said that Christmas is not purely feasting and merry making. He called on the people to gaze more attentively to the mercy of God by reaching out to those living in the fringes of society, the poor and the marginalized. As followers of Christ, we are constantly reminded to act in accordance with Luke 6 : 36, ‘Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.’ 
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.
Irene Johnny, the MC from the Catholic Church
Presentations by members of the 
St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Sandakan
Presentations of souvenirs to participating churches

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