KOHIMA, Dec 25 - Nagaland celebrated Christmas with religious fervour and joy today with many churches holding live online Christmas services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The midnight services on Thursday welcoming the birth of Jesus was limited to lesser congregations in Churches following the COVID-19 protocols in the Christian majority State.
In the State capital Kohima, while many Churches have cancelled the main celebrations with masses in Church premises but are conducting live online Christmas services, some are holding the special mass in the Churches but with limited gathering of believers in phases.
Moreover, unlike the previous years where Christmas feast used to be part of the Church celebration, this year the State Health and Family Welfare Department has discouraged sharing the feast but to give takeaway packages. Houses, commercial buildings, churches and streets have been lit with decorative lights in the State for the Christmas.
Meanwhile, Nagaland Governor RN Ravi, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, Leader of Opposition TR Zeliang, political parties, Naga national political groups, tribal hohos and civil societies have extended Christmas greetings to the people of the State.
�Truth, non-violence, forgiveness and grace are the essence of this joyous festival. Let us imbibe these essential virtues as we celebrate Christmas,� said Ravi in his message.
The Chief Minister said: �Christmas is a season of peace, joy and hope. A time of giving, a time of sharing and of loving. A time to share the good news of God�s love to all, ... Christmas signifies the end of despair, the beginning of hope and a time of new blessings from God.�
Saying that Christmas is an occasion for reconciliation and reunion, he said this is the time to restore broken relationships, to repair strained ones, to forgive one another and most importantly reconcile with God by seeking forgiveness of our sins and shortcomings.
In his message, the Chief Minister also touched on the unresolved Naga political issue saying that it has been going on for many decades but in spite of many agreements and accords, sacrifices and hardships, it could not be resolved.
�It has been over two decades since dialogue and ceasefire began with an aim to achieve the best possible agreement and settlement for our people,� he said while calling upon the Naga people to �continue to pray and collectively work to resolve the Naga issue by 2021 to bring about lasting peace in our land�.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that despite COVID-19 pandemic, the year has been relatively peaceful for the State, and for which, the people of Nagaland need to thank God for His manifold blessings and protection.
Patton further appealed to the people to celebrate the wonderful season in the true spirit of love, peace and forgiveness.
In his message, Zeliang called upon all to forgive each other this Christmas season and let love, reconciliation and brotherhood be the symbol of our Christmas celebration. � PTI