John 3:16, ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son Jesus, so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him.’

God loved the world so much that he could not imagine losing it. So, in his infinite wisdom he came up with a plan; a plan to save the world from being lost. That plan was manifested through the coming of his one and only son, Jesus Christ.

It was a plan to rescue, to save; to redeem the ones He loved. It was a plan of love. And it is because of this plan, this love; that we celebrate Christmas. Christmas commemorates the beginning of this redemption plan.

Just like we usually do, we shall sing, dance and celebrate Christmas. Many Ugandans will spend a lot of money and time celebrating Christmas. We buy gifts, spend time, travel far to be able to share this special holiday with the people we love and care for. And to do this we plan. We plan to take leave, to save money, to travel, to celebrate, to shop. All we do is out of love for those we care for; our family and friends. In all this we need to ask ourselves, where is our love for God. What is the essence of our celebration? Is it out of our love for God? Or is it just another opportunity to throw a party and spend lavishly after a year of hard work?

In 1 John, we read that we love God because he loved us first. May we always remember the true essence of Christmas. Christmas commemorates the beginning of God’s plan to save us; a plan made out of love for us. Let us, as we celebrate Christmas turn our love and affection to God, for he loved us first.

As we close the year, I’d like to commend all Ugandans for the way they have emulated God’s love for us by loving one another;

1.    During the disaster that struck the North and Eastern parts of our country in the form of floods, many of you showed brotherly love by sharing what you had, in terms of resources and prayers with those in need. Thank you for standing with your brothers.

2.    Many of you have continued to pray and support the peace process in Northern Uganda. I thank you for supporting our government in this venture.

3.    Many of you stood in solidarity with our government to welcome CHOGM. Indeed, many of you ‘embraced the world’, which is in itself an act of love. Thank you for loving Uganda, and for loving your fellow brethren in the Commonwealth Society.

May I take this opportunity to ask all God fearing and peace loving Ugandans to continue to live in peace with one another. Romans 13:8 ‘Do not owe people anything, except always owe love to each other, because the person who loves others has obeyed all the law.’ I encourage you to do this as an act of worship to God, our creator. It is only through love that we shall have lasting peace in the Northern region of Uganda.

As you celebrate Christmas, my prayer is that you will all embrace this gift of love from God. Who of you would like to have a gift you have given be rejected? Just like us, God, in whose image we are made, desires that we freely and fully accept his gift of love which he so freely gives to all who believe in him- the gift of his one and only Son, Jesus- the gift and Salvation and redemption for all mankind.

I also sincerely pray for our brethren who have been struck by Ebola, Cholera, Plague, Meningitis and even Hepatitis across our country. I call upon all Ugandans to support the government as we fight these epidemics by clearing following the safety precautions they have highlighted and by offering support and prayer to all those who have been directly affected. This is a national problem, just like the floods, the war in Northern Uganda and HIV/AIDS and we therefore need concerted efforts to fight these deadly epidemics.

I send warm Christmas greetings to President Yoweri Museveni, Maama Janet and their entire family and all our government leaders. I also send sincere greetings, along with prayers for a blessed Christmas for the Kabaka and Nabagereka of Buganda, and for our Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Pentecostal brethren, and all those who have looked in hope for the coming of our Redeemer and Saviour, Jesus.

May God bless you during this Christmas season and prosper the year 2008 as you continue to share the gift of love which he has so freely given to us all, through Jesus, His Son

To God be the glory.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

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