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Christmas is fast approaching and we have four weeks left before the close of the year 2022. The next couple of weeks seem to be quite hectic and this can be irksome due to the lack of rest, watching the FIFA World Cup, shopping, travelling and the build-up of the holiday mood. The season of Advent reminds us about the need for us to be spiritually prepared for the coming of Christ at Christmas once again. We may have missed out on a wonderful spiritual Christmas celebration the last two years due to the pandemic, with low-key celebrations.

I believe most of you if not all, would have already started putting up Christmas trees, and cribs and decorating your homes with lights. Our Church is now adorned with Christmas lights and decorations and we are now gradually progressing with the setting up of the crib. It is good for us to begin our interior and exterior decorations much earlier in order to create the atmosphere of Christmas.

As we gradually set up or add items to the Christmas decorations in our homes, do put in as much, if not more effort, in spending time with the Lord in individual and family prayers and reading the daily scripture following the liturgical calendar. The readings are so appropriate for the season of preparation for the announcement of the birth of the Child Jesus into the world. These can be read daily according to your own convenience, and at the same time, help you get a deeper understanding of Advent and Christmas.

The Advent Penitential Service in our Church is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, 20 December 2022 at 8.00 pm. All our churches have opened up to allow parishioners to make their individual confessions during this Advent Penitential service. During the pandemic, there were so many restrictions to adhere to in order for us to make an individual confession. It is a time of grace, a time of reconciliation for us to amend our sinfulness as we await and anticipate His coming at Christmas. Let us take this precious moment to make ourselves available for confession with our respective priests before celebrating a spiritual Christmas.

Christmas is a time for exchanging gifts. When we were young children, we were overwhelmed with many gifts but as we grow older, our Christmas gifts are not as many. Children look forward to receiving presents or gifts during this season. We would like to provide 250 goody bags as gifts to disadvantaged children on Christmas day. We will ensure that these vulnerable children receive some gifts. We need a few volunteers to assist in our campaign of collecting and wrapping these gifts before distribution this Christmas. Our intention is to bring a little smile and hope to these vulnerable children whose hopes are often shattered and grief penetrates their hearts.

What better way to share the love of Child Jesus at Christmas?

The Holy Father, Pope Francis’ prayer intention for the month of December 2022 is “volunteer, not-for-profit, organisations”. The whole world desires more committed volunteers, institutions and organisations to seek the common good of all. Let’s be more committed to human development by working together with each other for people’s needs – “to the demands of justice, to the defense of the poor, to the care of creation” - without looking for benefits, profits or awards.

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