BHUBANESWAR: In the midst of carols, greetings and prayers, the Capital City soaked in festive spirit as people from all communities and age groups gathered at churches for Christmas celebration on Sunday. Streets surrounding churches and shopping malls were beautifully decorated with coloured lamps, X-mas trees, balloons and cradles.
Celebrations at the Union Church of Christ in Unit IV started with the ‘Worship Service’ on Saturday evening . The ‘Closing Blessings’ ended at 11:45 pm after which people observed the ‘remembrance’ of birth of Jesus at midnight. Worship services on Sunday, comprising prayers, Bible reading and the 45-minute speeches by Pastors attracted huge crowds. Pastors Rev Ayuba Chinchani and Rev Bichitrananda Satpathy highlighted the values and morale of teachings of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Sundar Singh from Chennai spoke on the continuous clash between science and faith. ‘’Give faith a chance. Even with all the science, human being cannot grasp nature, creation and reality,’’ he said.
Carol singing, crib making, joyful parties and holy masses marked the Christmas Eve celebrations at St Vincent’s Catholic Church in Satya Nagar. Masses were held here in four languages - Hindi, Odia, Malayalam and English. While the youngsters decorated Christmas Trees with bells, pines, cones, colour papers and balloons, the Santa Claus surprised children with prizes and gifts.
Christmas preparations started in the City four weeks back. Devotees practised rituals like prayers, social service, fasting and confession during this period called the ‘Advent Season’.
‘’At midnight, we recalled the birth time of Jesus Christ who was born 2016 years back today at Bethlehem in Jerusalem,’’ Church Priest Father Prasanna Kumar Pradhan said.
Christmas was celebrated at other churches at Khandagiri, VSS Nagar, Jaydev Vihar and Chandrasekharpur with much fanfare. The faithful and believers lit candles, shared cakes and exchanged pleasantries with near and dear ones. The joy and gusto of Christmas will culminate with New Year festivities.