United Through the Spirit of Christmas

On the 13th of December 2018, the Catholic Student Society of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), namely GIFT collaborated with Ikatan Kristian (IKUTM) for Christmas Night 2018, one of the biggest Christmas celebrations in UTM. It was held in Dewan Perdana, UTM, with more than 200 participants including staffs and students. The celebration was honored with the presence of our honorable guests- Dr. Fong, advisor of IKUTM, Dr. Helen, a senior lecturer in UTM, and also Sr. Shanti, the Head of the Malacca-Johore Diocese Campus Ministry.

This event was a breakthrough for GIFT as it was the first time a Christmas celebration was organized on campus itself, which has always been one of goals of the society. The event committee board consisted of GIFTers and IK ExCos, which are Christian students from different denominations. For the past few years, GIFT has only worked closely with the UTM SIB group, KOMSEL, but for this event, GIFT and IK worked together on a much larger scale that involved not just the UTM Catholic students but all Christians in campus. All committee members worked side-by-side with good teamwork and dedication focusing on realizing the spirit of Christmas in the campus.

The theme for the Christmas Night was about celebration and evangelism. It started with dinner, simple games, gift exchange, and performances including caroling and live band by GIFT, as well as a musical sketch by the Skudai Chinese Methodist Church (SCMC) group. Most GIFTers are from Sabah and Sarawak, so there was an open floor at the end of the event, dancing poco-poco and Sumazau with their West Malaysian friends. It was a session of bonding through cultures, and everyone who participated enjoyed the dances.

UTM Christmas Article Photo 2
Caroling performance by CSS UTM GIFT

Besides being a successful ecumenical event, it also opened doors for evangelism.  The event director of the Christmas Night 2018, Ken, conducted an activity where it started off with origami-making with given instructions, which proceeded with an explanation of the meaning behind this activity and he shared his personal story of his encounter with God. The message was about how Christ was given to the world to save us from our sin, out of His great love for us all. It was special because Ken wanted to use this opportunity to share the Gospel to the participants, especially to the non-Christians.

Personally, the most meaningful part in this journey was the preparation. At the end of one of the meetings, Ken shared a few bible passages, including Ezekiel 33:1-20, where he reminded us of our calling as Christians, which is to spread the Good News. It was a good wake-up call for us, not just the Catholic committees, but also for all Catholics to actually live our faith and share it.  “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20). Hopefully, through this event, it will be a beginning of a renewed focus on evangelism on the campus itself, and to especially highlight days such as Christmas and Easter to share about Christ and His personal and intimate love for each and every one of us.