St Michael Cathedral was packed to capacity with a thrilled congregation celebrating Christmas.


As with its Christmas tradition, the mass at St Michel was characterised by baptism of children, while Father Christian Mulenga preached about righteousness.

?As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we are celebrating life. Whoever believes in Him gets spiritual power. As we mark this day, we should take note of the words we use in our daily lives as they impact on our lives. If we rightfully select the words we use, we can positively impact the lives of people around us,? Mulenga said.

Watch what you say

Restoration Church in Remera also observed Christmas in a service attended by many who rejoiced singing in celebration as Pastor Michel Lwakazina preached about repentance.

?Celebrating Jesus? birth is a recognition that He brought us new light and means to repent and be forgiven. As we celebrate, let?s reflect on events that marked our lives in the past one year and also shape our lives better in the future,? he said.

At Christian Life Assembly (CLA-Rwanda) in Nyarutarama, the congregation was estimated in hundreds, while Pastor Emmanuel Rurangirwa of ADEPR Kigali dwelt his preaching on the birth and life of Jesus, particularly pointing out His traits as a prince of peace, counsellor and saviour.

Several people who spoke to The New Times gave their interpretation of Christmas and how it should be celebrated.

Xavierine Nyirabune said: ?Christmas is a reminder to spread peace, love and tolerance where conflicts have been reigning. It is the light that directs us to be exemplary in prayer.?

?We should celebrate but not recklessly, rather, it?s time to pray for and support the vulnerable; it?s the life that Jesus lived and so we should emulate it,? said Dr Richard Karugarama, whose child was baptised yesterday,

?Christmas not fairytale?

Elsewhere in the world, in his Christmas Day sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said fairytale endings are not a reflection of the true spirit of Christmas and reminded worshippers that the infamous battlefield detente between German and British troops a hundred years ago was all too brief.

?The truce illustrates something of the heart of Christmas, whereby God sends his Son, that vulnerable sign of peace, to a weary war-torn world. The problem is that the way it is told now it seems to end with a ?happy ever after.??

He added:?Of course, we like Christmas stories with happy endings: singing carols, swapping photos, shaking hands, sharing chocolate, but the following day the war continued with the same severity. Nothing had changed; it was a one-day wonder?.

Welby?s message was directed at having sustainable peace in the world which was more like that of Pope Francis, who ushered the world?s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics into Christmas with a condemnation of religious persecution.

Tens of thousands of people turned out on St Peter?s Basilica to hear the Pope deliver his annual message.

In his traditional Christmas Day address, the Pope denounced the brutal persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, as he highlighted the plight of victims of conflict in Syria and Iraq.

?Too many people are being held hostage or massacred in Nigeria,? he said.

The New Times


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