Have a Christ-centered Christmas!

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Merry Christmas

Merry ChristmasBy Robin Sam

IT’S that time of the year again! Christmas evokes such nostalgic memories for anyone who has lived long enough to have nostalgia. For some, it brings memories of the heavenly taste of rum cakes, for others it means fabulous feast with family and friends, for others it’s time to ‘open the bottle’ as a popular film song says in Tamil.

Talking about getting tipsy during Christmas, Kerala – dubbed as God’s own country by smart ad makers – takes the cake in liquor sales. According to a Jan 1, 2011 datelined report from PTI, the Kerala government made a killing from sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL).  It sold IMFL worth over Rs.32 crore on a single day (New Year’s eve). The sales on December 31, 2010 was four crore rupees more than that of 2009, the report highlighted.

For December, IMFL of Rs 597 crore was sold in Kerala. That is an average of Rs.19.25 crore per day for the entire month of December in 2010. In 2009 sales corresponding for the same month was Rs.490 crore, PTI added.

Related features: Franklin Graham’s Christmas message | P G Vargis’ Christmas message

Liquor sales in Kerala for the 2010-11 fiscal touched dizzy heights, reaching an all-time high of Rs.6,730.30 crore compared to Rs.5,539.85 crore in 2009-10, says another report.

The trend is no different in Tamil Nadu where there are 6,500 retail liquor TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) outlets in the state compared to Kerala State Beverages Corporation’s 338 outlets. According to TASMAC’s website, the turnover of the corporation in 2005-2006 was Rs.7,335 crore. I shudder to think what it would be now!

Where are we as a nation heading to?  Looking at the way, our states are leaning heavily on the liquor corporations to run their affairs makes one wonder if their sole objective is to loot the people and fill their coffers by making them addicted to alcohol. I am digressing. Let’s get back to Christmas.

What is Christmas all about? Our cover story will attempts to answer this all-important question. It’s a complete transcript of a sermon by Rev. Melvin Newland. When it comes to celebrating Christmas, what should be our approach? Is there a one way that Jesus Christ would have approved? In Message of the Month, Robin Sam outlines five ways to celebrate Christmas – not just this year but any year until the Lord comes. Christian writer and speaker Barbara Lardinais and Pastor Chris Elrod have devoted time to come up with their short devotional messages.

In this issue, we have also dedicated pages to cover incidents of persecution from India and other parts of the world. Also available are key trends that throw light on why young people drop out of church and how regular attendance at religious services is associated with a more optimistic outlook and a lesser inclination to be depressed, compared to those who do not attend services at all.

It is our hope that you will be enriched spiritually by reading our Christmas issue. If you like the issue, be sure to let us know about it. Your feedback will help us come back to work from Christmas vacation invigorated and determined to serve you, the church, better.

May this Christmas season be one of joy, peace and love! Merry Christmas!

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