The celebrations are somewhat overcast after the country suffered two major disasters on the same day on December 7. (Joe Laurence – Archives)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Christians in Seychelles join the rest of the world on Monday, December 25, for a Christmas celebration in their usual tradition starting with mass celebrated in their respective parishes.
The celebrations are somewhat overcast after the country suffered two major disasters on the same day on December 7, after several days of torrential rains in the northern area of the main island of Mahe, causing rock and landslides, which killed 3 people, and also a massive explosion in the Providence Industrial Area, caused by explosives from a quarrying company, that affected almost all the businesses and houses in its vicinity.
In their Christmas messages, the leaders of the Roman Catholic and Anglican dioceses, Bishop Alain Harel and Bishop James Wong, reminded believers that the birth of Jesus Christ brings a message of light.
“In the dead of night, at the invitation of the angels, the shepherds walked towards a source of light. In this way, their journey became part of the Lord’s journey, who has been meeting humanity since the foundation of the world,” said Harel.
The Catholic Bishop said that the shepherds – who were considered the outcasts of society – returned to their daily lives, their eyes shining with gratitude because they had discovered that they had value in the eyes of God.
“In the midst of our contemporary nights, so many Seychellois let themselves be enlightened by this source of light and decided to accompany Jesus-Emmanuel in his commitment to building a world for tomorrow,” he added.
Harel said that after the disasters many people and non-governmental organisation have shown a great outpouring of welcome, solidarity and generosity towards the families whose homes have been destroyed or damaged.
“Will we, like the shepherds, know how to be “doorkeepers of light”? Will we be able to overcome our fears and our comfort zones to respond to this call and continue our human journey by following Jesus – Emmanuel, who committed himself to the end? That’s all the happiness I wish you for this new year 2024,” said Harel.
Anglican Bishop Wong said at this Christmas time, the birth of Jesus is the most powerful sign and message of light in a world darkened by the shadows of fear and uncertainty.
“During the night when Jesus was born, an angel appeared to shepherds who lived in the fields and watched over their flock. The shepherds were frightened just as we, my dear brothers and sisters, are after those calamities. The angel told them and us today, “do not be afraid!” and added, “I bring you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born – a Saviour,” said Wong.
He said that the world today is in a time of fear and doubt. Some fear for the survival of future generations or the submersion of their home islands because of the climate emergency we are experiencing and many are afraid today that we will no longer be able to feed their children tomorrow.
“In the midst of the havoc, God is with us. He is our Comforter and the Prince of peace. The encouraging words of the angel – “do not be afraid!” – reflect the ancient Christian teaching that faith and love drive out fear. The angel of the first Christmas called the shepherds to have faith in the divine promise of peace on earth and God’s goodwill towards humanity,” said Wong.
“With all good wishes for a blessed Christmas season, we invite you to welcome in faith and love the angels’ promise of peace on earth, and to live as a pilgrim on the path to justice, reconciliation, and unity. To all those affected, I pray that the Prince of peace may grant you peace, hope and comfort during this challenging time. A blessed and peaceful Christmas to you all,” said the Anglican Bishop.