Christmas is also about God’s solidarity with the poor and the oppressed which characterises much of the birth of Jesus in conditions of poverty, Ronald Benjamin writes.
One of the main written principles about the potential for human goodness – the belief in God – is contained in the Rukun Negara.
Malaysia stands in contrast with many secular countries in the West that have lost the sense of their roots when they denied God in public declarations.
The West sadly tries to erase the spiritual roots of its civilisation, even though it is unable to erase the meaning and beauty of the Christmas story of unconditional love and solidarity, on its streets where Christmas decorations provide a cultural face rather than spiritual depth.
In the Malaysian context, belief in God in itself does not mean one embraces humanity as a whole. There is sectarianism, moralism of a holier-than-thou attitude, and the limiting of an all-powerful God to an exclusive religious ideology confined to a set of legal, ritual and cultural norms of divisiveness.
The story of Christmas is about how God so loved the world that He gave it his only son – a cosmic action of great love that embraces the whole of creation without conditions.
It is also about solidarity with the poor and the oppressed which characterises much of the birth of Jesus in conditions of poverty, in contrast to Roman authority that sustained itself on power, wealth and splendour.
Christmas is about calling men and women of goodwill to love God and one another unconditionally, without being judgmental.