Whether they are Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans or Methodists, all Christians in Pahang celebrate this joyous religious occasion on every 25th of December – like elsewhere in the world.
To the Christians in Pahang, Christmas Day (in Malay it is known as "Hari Natal") is a time to reflect on the great sacrifices that Jesus Christ made to save humans from sins.
Jesus Christ, to the Christians, is the Son of God and Savior of humankind, and the Day being his birthday, it is therefore an appropriate and auspicious time to remember him and to follow his teachings and examples.
Jesus Christ in Islam
Jesus Christ is referred to by Muslims as the Prophet Isa or Jesus (alaihi salam).
He is also revered as one of the prophets propagating Islam before the arrival of the final prophet of Islam, that is, Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wassalam).
The Muslims believe Jesus is not dead, but is still alive and will return again to Earth to preach the true teachings of God.
END OF SIDE-NOTE
Normally many days before Christmas, shops and shopping-malls in Kuantan and other major towns will be adorned and decorated with Christmas trees and paraphernalia.
So, having done the extra shopping for gifts and presents, Christians in Pahang will clean and spruce up their house, sometimes adding and replacing old furniture and fittings with new ones.
Putting up new curtains and maybe giving the abode a new coat of paint will add an atmosphere of gaiety to the house that will soon be filled with visits by relatives, neighbors and friends on Christmas Day.
Of course, the all important Christmas tree with assorted attractive ornaments will be set up about a day or so before the big Day and gaily decorated and adorned by the helping hands of all family members.
Besides sprucing up the household, Christians in Pahang will also take the opportunity on the few days before Christmas to meet their priest or father at the church, and make their confessions of past sins, looking forward and hoping for forgiveness and pardon.
And of course with a renewed spirit and cleanliness of heart, Christians will be able to face the coming new year with firmness of purpose and greater faith.
The celebrations by Christians in Pahang normally start on the eve of Christmas Day, that is on the 24th of December, where in the evening all family members will meet and gather at the family home.
There will normally be a big and lavish dinner at this get-together, with delicious servings like turkey meat, pies, chocolates and biscuits.
While dining, the opportunity is taken by all to catch up on sibling news, like new family additions, activities and educational performances of children, and of course short gossips, stories and updates on relatives and friends.
After the dinner, all family members will then proceed to go to the church for the special annual Christmas prayers.
Unlike normal days of the year, the churches in Pahang, especially in the big towns like Kuantan and Bentong, will be filled and inundated with congregations on this night of Christmas Day.
This is because the spirit and joys of this festive occasion will be felt multiple times by the atmosphere in the churches, where fellow Christian friends and neighbors attend in joyful spirit.
In Kuantan, the St.Thomas Church and the Methodist Church in the middle of the town, will be the focus and center of the Christmas night prayers.
Normally this special prayer will start around midnight and extend for a few hours thereafter. The special prayer includes sermons and homily, readings of the Bible, and usually interspersed with Christmas carols and songs.
Evergreen songs of the season like Joy to the World, Jingle Bells and Silent Night will be sang before the congregations bid farewell to their fellow congregations.
The open house tradition of Malaysians during religious festivals and celebrations is also followed on this big Day.
In Pahang, as elsewhere in Malaysia, people of all races (Malays, Chinese, Indians and others) and of different religious beliefs, without shyness, will join their Christian friends in celebrating Christmas Day at the open houses.
And the food served to relatives, neighbors and friends, besides the cakes, pies and biscuits, usually includes popular Malaysian food, like noodles, satay, kueh teow and the rice dishes.
Well, Christmas Day is always a joyful and happy occasion in Pahang as elsewhere in Malaysia and the world.
And most important of all, it is a festive occasion celebrated not only by those who are Christians, but enjoyed as well by people of different religious and ethnic beliefs in the country.
This is as it should be.
As always, from me...