Wishing all Sri Lankan Christians a holy and peaceful Christmas, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said the new government was committed to the task of dispelling the darkness of religious terrorism and restoring security and peace to our motherland.
“I wish to convey my warmest felicitations to all Sri Lankans celebrating Christmas – the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. His Holiness Pope Francis described Christmas as ‘the feast of faith in the Son of God who became man in order to restore us to our filial dignity, lost through sin and disobedience’. For Christians around the world, this is a time to celebrate the life and teachings of Jesus Christ — and his message of compassion, courage and empathy. Christmas has also traditionally been a time of good cheer and joyfulness with family gatherings, feasting the giving of presents and the midnight services in Church. Children especially, look upon Christmas as the time Santa Claus comes visiting. Christmas has always been a symbol of innocence and joy,” the premier said in his Christmas message.
“However, Sri Lankan Christians celebrate Christmas this year in the sombre backdrop of the suicide bombings on Easter Sunday which left hundreds dead and hundreds more injured or maimed for life. Some of those injured in those dastardly attacks are still receiving treatment. The Christians of Sri Lanka became the deliberate targets of religious fanatics who do not believe in the religious freedom of others. This year, Christmas services in Church will be held amidst unprecedented security arrangements due to the situation arising out of the Easter Sunday attacks. This is symbolic of the sad plight that our motherland has been plunged into as a result of divisive and narrow-minded politics based on ethnicity and religion,” he said.
The Premier said though all Christians in Sri Lanka will be marking Christmas under a pall of gloom owing to the barbaric attacks on Easter Sunday, they should be mindful of the words of the Gospel according to St John which says ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.
“The new government of Sri Lanka is committed to the task of dispelling the darkness of religious terrorism and restoring security and peace to our motherland. My request to all Christians in Sri Lanka is to exercise their freedom of worship, without allowing extremist forces to succeed in suppressing that freedom,” he said.