KUCHING – On 19 December, the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) held its annual Joint Christmas Service at the Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre, attended by over 1000 people. The theme for the service was ‘Immanuel – God with Us’.
The Deputy Chairman of the ACS, Major Lee Kong Yee of the Salvation Army Church, welcomed the congregation, who had come from different denominations and walks of life to celebrate the birth of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. He thanked the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Church for hosting the event.
Scripture readings and prayers were led by representatives of the seven-member Churches.
In a message on the ‘Immanuel’ delivered by Pastor Robinson Simunyi from SIB Canada Hill (Miri), he described the birth of Jesus Christ as the most important event in the history of mankind. It was the fulfilment of the prophecy in Isaiah, “the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (7:14) and recorded in Matthew, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel” (1:23) which means ‘God is with us’.
Pastor Robinson elaborated that ‘Immanuel’ has many implications for Christians. First, ‘Immanuel’ means that Jesus, the Son of God, has come to dwell in this world and to make his Father known to us. Through Jesus, we have a personal relationship with God.
‘Immanuel’ gives new life, because we are born again in the Spirit. It means that we can live an abundant life and have access to all the gifts from Heaven. It also means that the Lord who has come to “heal the broken hearted and set the captives free” can free us from our emotional, physical and spiritual bondages.
He added that with the coming of the ‘Immanuel’, we will not be condemned. We are freed from the power of sin, and from eternal punishment. ‘Immanuel’ also gives us the boldness and confidence to overcome the problems of life and uncertainties of the future, and to preach the Gospel.
Pastor Robinson ended his message by urging Christians to touch and bless others and to utilise all the blessings of the ‘Immanuel’ for the glory of God.
The choir was conspicuously absent this year, but the congregation sang enthusiastically and joyfully. At the end of the service, all were urged to get to know each other better over light refreshments at the foyer.
Dr Michael Hii