Christmas Message of Cardinal Ribat
EMMANUEL! God is with us!
Even before the Christmas season, these words have become so alive in me at the onset of the COVID-19 situation in the world and specifically here in our country, Papua New Guinea. Our life has been tremendously affected in all areas- individually, in families, in communities and villages, in churches, in socio-politico-economic arena and in the society at large. We found ourselves at a lost when things started to change because of the restrictions that were put in place so as to prevent the transmission of the virus. We were asking questions like “What is happening?”, “When will this end?”, “Is this true or just fabricated?”, “What do we do now?”, “Where do we go from here?” and many more. All of a sudden, we needed to feel safe and secure and wanted answers to our questions. We searched for truth, sought refuge and needed deeper meaning in our life situation. With this pandemic, other realities emerged that made the situation more complex.
Many times, we find ourselves in despair not knowing where to get the next toea to provide food for the family or pay the bills. Children are forced to stay in the house, instead of being able to go to school or play with their friends. Some people have lost their jobs and therefore, no source of income now to be able to meet the cost of their living. Some people have died and others are still suffering from the pandemic.
Despite of all these changes that we are going through now, our sure HOPE is in JESUS CHRIST! The Scriptures remind us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”. In our journey preparing for Christmas, at this Advent Season, we have the faith and hope to celebrate the BIRTH OF JESUS with great joy!
This helps us to look into the future with much confidence because God is truly with us! His promise to us is PEACE and He comes to bring us this peace.
The spirit of Christmas, then, urges all of us to work to promote PEACE, HARMONY AND UNITY in all aspects of our life. Whether you are young or adults, our responsibility is to work together to ensure that peace permeates our life, relationships and works. Therefore, with faith, we move forward to face the challenges knowing that our Lord will not leave us alone. He will always be with us!
As this Christmas season brings us back to that joyful event when the Son of God was born of the Blessed Virgin and dwelt among us, may you all experience the love and presence of EMMANUEL – God-with-us!
I wish you all a joy-filled Christmas celebration and blessings for a Prosperous New Year 2021!