“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa
Mangaluru: For most of us, Christmas is the favourite time of the year. It is the time when we put away our petty little differences and interact with each other with joy, exchange gifts, sing Christmas carols and gather as family to enjoy each other as we share a Christmas meal. The emphasis during the season is on sharing and giving.The birth of Christ represents a supreme act of giving to humanity, the means to finding the true meaning of life and the path to everlasting happiness. It is important that we note that God`s giving of his Son sprung out of love, a love that is selfless, all embracing and unconditional. It is a quality of loving and giving that all men and nations on earth seek, but which they appear able to hold on to only for a short time.
Christmas alerts us to the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves, and many organizations and individuals make special efforts to bring the Christmas joy to them. In so doing, we symbolize the essence of the Christian understanding of Christmas as reflected in the Gospel of St. John “ God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life” ( Jn 3: 16). We may find some degree of comfort in the words of Winston Churchill which read “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. And for that matter, members of United Christian Association (UCA)-Mangaluru did a great work this Christmas by giving away keys to two homes to two deserving persons.
United Christian Association organized “Christmas Sauhardha Sambhrama”, an all-religion Christmas celebration at the public open-air ground near Silver Gate-Kushekar on Saturday, 26 December. The programme was inaugurated by chief guest, Rev Fr JB Saldanha-Parish Priest of Permannur church by lighting the lamp along with other dignitaries on the dais namely- Shri Shri Shri Vittaldas Swamiji, Al Haji VS Hamza of Ullal Dargah, Bhasker-area corporater, MLA JR Lobo, and Sr Sabina of Jeevadhan. The welcome address was delivered by Francis D’Costa-Vice President of UCA.
Addressing the gathering, Fr Saldanha said, “This Christmas, let us give special attention to those who are abandoned, lonely, without a home, hungry, and sick. Let us search out for those in our neighbourhood, living lives of quiet desperation, drowning in loneliness and mired in insecurity and depression. Our presence and sharing with them may raise their hope for better days and give them new perspectives of themselves and of the possibilities that exist for them to turn around their lives. The twenty fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew drives home the point that in the final analysis what will really matter, is not how much we have accumulated, or how important we are, but rather on the extent to which we responded to the needs of our brothers and sisters. We should all appreciate the kind gesture of UCA for their humble donation of two homes to the less-fortunate”
Kemaru Math Swamiji Esha Vittaldas expressing his thoughts on Christmas and its meaning said, “This is true Christmas because UCA has built a house for Akshara Santha Harekala Hajabba and gifted it on Christmas day. I was very fortunate to lay the foundation stone for Hajabba’s house, I have laid the foundation stone for many temples and residential buildings but when UCA members invited me for the foundation stone laying ceremony, I was very happy. I love the way Hajjabba serves the society. He did not think much of his own family, by selling oranges he was educating children from his locality”.
Kemaru Swamiji further said that people fight in the name of religion and widen the gap between humans. Instead of thinking about the development of the society we are busy fighting in the name of religion. He urged all to join hands for the development of the society, as well as the country.
MLA JR Lobo, speaking on the occasion said that Christmas is the season for sharing and caring and UCA has celebrated real Christmas by gifting a house to Harekala Hajabba. He congratulated UCA members for their yeomen service in building a house for Hajabba and Patricia. He urged UCA members to continue their mission in reaching the poor and the downtrodden in their needs.
Hamza, Sr Sabina and Bhasker also spoke and expressed their gratitude to UCA for being generous in helping the needy during Christmas season, which emphasis on sharing and giving. A key to a brand new home built at a cost of Rs 15 lakh was handed over to Social worker Harekala Hajabba by the guests of honour during the occasion. Harekala Hajabba is an orange vendor and a well-known social reformer. He is known for the revolution he has brought in rural education within his state. He kept part of his savings from selling oranges, to start a school in the region he came from so that the children there could get educated. Today, the school, which has grown with government support and donations from private individuals, is known as Hajabba School. He is affectionately known as ‘ Akshara Santa’ (The saint of letters) in Mangalore city.
Yet another key to a brand new home built at a cost of Rs 5.5 lakh was presented to Patricia of Permannur, whose house was collapsed due to the recent incessant rains. Patricia and Hajabba thanked the members of UCA for their kind thoughts and generosity during this blessed Christmas. Following the formal programme, a procession of tableaux was flagged off by the are corporator Bhasker-the tableaux comprised of cultural troupes, Christmas crib, brass band and dance group. The procession starting from Silver Gate proceeded through Nanthur, Kadri, Kankanady, Hampankatta, KS Rao Rd, Bejai and culminated back at Silver Gate.
President of UCA Alban Menezes expressed his gratitude to all the donors and well-wishers who made this programme possible, while Paul Lobo-president of UCA-Siddakatte proposed the vote of thanks. St Patrick Brass Band from Siddakatte played some traditional and dance tunes for the listening/dancing pleasure of the audience. The programme was compered by Melwin D’Souza-secretary of UCA.