LAHORE – Like other parts of the globe, the Christian community celebrated Christmas, birthday of Jesus Christ, across the country including the City with religious zeal and fervour on Sunday, amid elaborate security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident.

Christmas services were held in hundreds of churches across the country, where priests delivered sermons, urging the participants to follow the teachings of the holy Christ. They also stressed upon the need of making sincere efforts for brotherhood and harmony in the society. Special prayers were also offered for the progress and prosperity of the country. The community prepared Christmas Trees, illuminated churches and homes and cut Xmas cake to mark the annual religious event. Santa Claus remained the highlights of Christmas celebrations. Children and other family members received gifts from the Santa Claus dressed in a red costume with a long white beard. The jolly Santa Claus serves as the most enchanting aspect and a major attraction of Christmas.

In Lahore, Christmas services were held at over 200 churches. However, the biggest gatherings were as usual held at the Cathedral, The Mall and Saint Anthony's, Lawrence Road. Special fairs were also set up outside the major churches where people thronged in cluster to enjoy every bit of the event. Special Christmas trees were also installed at the major city hotels to attract Christians.

The main mid night service started at the Cathedral that continued for an hour, following with congratulations from the participants to each other.

In his sermon, the Bishop of Lahore Dr Alexander John Malik said that Christmas reminds that true religion is not so much in its rituals but in its expression of love where all the barriers of creed, caste, gender and status are conquered because all humans are created by one God. He said the religion was a matter of heart not of observances, adding that Christmas would not be special without all that associated with it. But one would be at loss if goes through the festivities of Christmas without its central and significant message and that too for today's world", he added. He stressed upon the Christians to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ in letter and spirit by spreading love and peace in the world. He also extended his felicitations for a blessed Christmas and a happy new year.