Fr Nick speaking during the SPCR Christmas Holy Mass. Picture on the right is the crib of Christ built by the youths in SPCR using recycled materials

By Clarence Dol

Jan 4 2022

RANAU – Despite the fact that Christmas this year is so different from the occasions in the past due to the pandemic, the message of Christmas remains the same, which is Immanuel.

Parish priest for St Peter Claver Ranau (SPCR) Church, Fr Nicholas Stephen said in times of happiness or hardship, “We need to always remember that God never goes away from our lives.

“This Christmas is special because it’s a time where those far away are united, but those close by need to practise physical distancing for the common good,” he said speaking after the Christmas Mass in SPCR on Dec 25.

He called on the parishioners to celebrate Christmas this year as if it is the last Christmas they will ever celebrate because no one knows what is to come in the future.

“We don’t know what is to come, so I would invite you to visit the crib of Christ, creatively built by the youth in SPCR using recycled materials.

Fr Nick and Fr Francis praying at the crib of Christ during the Mass

“Do this while reflecting that God is always with us. Never leave Jesus behind, because He never leaves us behind. What a huge loss for those who desert Him,” he said.

Fr Nick also urged all Christians to share the light of Christ to those around them, especially those who were not able to come to church for various reasons.

“Tell them that Jesus was born for us. He brings light and the light will illuminate the darkness. This is what we celebrate this Christmas.

“So many messages I received from people in every corner of the earth like Australia, New Zealand, in Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia, Dubai etc thanking me for giving them words of hope. But I want the people not only to receive hope, but more importantly for them to know who is the ‘hope’.

“Our hope is Jesus Christ, who was born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, and He is born today everywhere in this world, in the hearts of the believers and in the midst of their families,” he said.

Fr Nick, on behalf of his fellow parish priests Fr Francis Tsen, Fr Maxmilliano Hontor and Fr Ned Columba, took the opportunity to wish everyone, including those viewing the broadcast via live streaming a very Merry Christmas and thanked them for staying tuned to the series, especially during the pandemic.