Christmas Celebration, An Indoor Affair In Twin Cities This Year

Bhubaneswar: Like most festivals this year, COVID-19 pandemic has cast its dark shadow on Christmas celebration also.

Besieged with uncertainties and health threat, particularly in the wake of new strain of coronavirus, most of the city people seems to have confined the celebration to indoor with near and close ones. They fear to even go to church and perform the rituals like mass gathering.

The Church of Christ (Union Church) in the city has also decided not to open on Christmas day considering the likely threat posed by the large crowd expected on the day. Other churches of the city are also closed for the devotees.

“With government guidelines, we cannot celebrate Christmas in churches. Because thousands of devotees come to church on this day. We will celebrate the festival through online mode,” said Pratap Kumar Sahoo, an Evangelist.

“We have recorded dance and song programmes, skit and play with limited people in the Unit-4 Church in the city. Our community people will see those performances on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram by staying at homes. We will also telecast the message of Father online. In spite of all these online programmes, many people are feeling isolated at homes as there is no social gathering,” said Pratap.

“We are celebrating Christmas virtually this year. We are staying in a joint family. We will offer prayer together at home. We will spend quality time with family enjoying the Christmas. We have decorated our house and also prepared tasty food,” said Aniva Chand, a city-based research professional.

“In spite of all these preparation, we cannot forget the plight of the people in this situation. Many people have lost their jobs. They are not in a good state of mind now. We are thinking what we can do for others. We will donate something to orphanages and distribute blankets to needy people. We are planning to do these work from December 25 to 31. Main goal of Christmas is ‘Care and Share’ for us,” she added.

“We have decorated Prarthana Grihas in Cuttack and celebrating the Christmas virtually,” said Ranjit Nayak, president of Peyton Sahi Christian Samaj in Cuttack.

“We are in a celebrating mood this year. In Peyton Sahi, 20 people have died due to COVID-19 and other diseases. In most of the houses, people are in a depression. We have made some cakes to give as gifts to the needy people,” said Nayak.

“Pastors preach sermon in churches in Christmas. But, this year, they have to preach through Zoom meeting,” he added.

“We have also recorded a play of birth of Jesus, song and dance performances. We will play those online. We used to hold a prayer meet from 11 pm to 12 am on December 24 every year. But that will be done online this time,” said Nayak.

“Overall, people will miss going to churches and participating in Mass gathering,” he added.

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