Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas in mutiracial Malaysia

A season of sharing goodwill for unity

As Malaysians of the Christian faith celebrate Christmas it may be time to reflect of its significance in multiracial and multi-religious Malaysia. Like all other major festivals in the country, Malaysians of all ethnicity and religions, must join in the celebrations of Christmas to make it a very unique practice in our multiracial nation. Let us use this occasion to share our goodwill and fellowship with those of different faiths and ethnicity.

Like all festivals today it is rather unfortunate that, Christmas too has become so commercialized to the extent that it seems to be losing its true meaning and essence. It is being portrayed as a season of mammoth celebrations, extravagant shopping, feasts and merry-making. Unreasonably huge amounts of money are channeled into these celebrations to promote sales and attract tourists.

While it may be a day of joy but there is much more than merry-making and feasting to Christmas. It should be also a day to share our joy with others particularly the less fortunate in our midst regardless of race or creed. It is also the time to seek forgiveness from those we hurt and grant forgiveness to those who hurt us. It is a time to bring some cheer to those who need it most; the lonely, the sick and the hungry.

Our nation is undergoing some tumultuous times politically and socio-economically. It is also undergoing some difficult and trying times with regards to inter-racial and inter-religious relations among its people of diverse ethnicity. While there is more maturity and awareness of the people now for the need for racial integration, there is still much more to be done to foster that unity. We must work to create a mindset among our people, especially the young, to accept each other as equal citizens despite our differences in color, creed and culture.

As we celebrate this Christmas in peace let us not forget the millions who are suffering due to religious and racial conflicts all over the world. As Christians we may be a minority in the country but we have our duty to it. We must advocate the concept of a common brotherhood of the human race in our own little ways in our own little world around us in our community. Each of us may be just a tiny drop in the ocean but together we form the ocean itself.

Like all other festivals Malaysians must use Christmas to promote better understanding and goodwill among the various communities. It is a time to put aside our differences and come together to celebrate the day with mutual respect for one another’s traditions and culture. We may be a nation of diverse cultures but we are all Malaysians sharing a common destiny, good or bad.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

1 comment:

Vincent Murphy said...

Dr. Chris;

Great post, and well timed. It is very important for us as Christians to remember both the wide community in Malaysia but also in the world at large. Although we are persecuted, others are much more oppressed.

Yet, I am not sure that we should think of using Christmas as something other than the proclamation of Christ, that miracle of God dwelling as man, amongst mankind. The same Christ that died for our sins, and in whom is the only means of salvation.

All those who join in the Christmas Celebrations need to know that it is to remember the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Otherwise it is just an empty festival of hedonism, a macabre celebration by those stumbling in the dark, doomed to death through sin apart from Christ.

I appreciate that some who are not Christian may not wish to celebrate Christmas on those terms. Personally, I do not celebrate Eid or similar festivals that are founded in the worship of false Gods, which I find unacceptable idolatry. Multiculturalism is important; but avoiding idolatry much more so!

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