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Christmas is a day of prayer, hope and joy amid adversities and worries during the Covid-19 pandemic, said church leaders and believers.
Bishop Paul Hinder, the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, in his message to the faithful, pointed out that Christmas - marking the birth of Jesus Christ - brings “good news” for everyone.
“The angel who appeared to the shepherds on the fields of Bethlehem told them do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people,” Bishop Hinder said in his message at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi.
“Amidst the insecurities and the never-ending threat of the pandemic, we all need the good news that brings joy to our lives. Christmas is a reminder that God has not forsaken us. But has taken there is to become one of us.”
Bishop Hinder noted that in difficult times, community members must come to the help of those suffering from any illness, mourning the death of a loved one, worrying about their job or feeling lonely and abandoned.
“Let us not miss the chance to do as God does, let us be with those who need us,” he added.
Hundreds of Christians attended masses at churches held by following strict Covid-19 guidelines.
Meanwhile, with the number of new Covid-19 cases hitting more than 1,350 in the country, Christian expats opted for a quieter celebration with family.
Brian Carl, a resident for more than 12 years, stressed that health and well-being is more important than celebration.
“We are just celebrating with close family. We are avoiding friends. We are trying to keep the virus away. We will have a safe party with family members: my wife and kids, sister and brother.”
Carl and family will be praying for a better 2022 and for the departed souls in the typhoon that lashed the Philippines.
“Our relatives have been affected by the typhoon. It is difficult to celebrate. We will pray for things to get better in 2022. We hope for a prosperous new year for everyone.”
Denis Bancroft, an expat, is excited to see malls and streets across Abu Dhabi draped in festival lights.
“Every year, my family and I eagerly look forward to Christmas. This year has been more important than before because we are still fighting the pandemic. The new cases have gone up. Christmas brings hope in darkness. We are happy to be able to still mark the festival in the same way like we do back home,” Bancroft added as most expats look forward to a day of prayers and celebration with close family members on Saturday.
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