Church thanksgiving services mark Christmas in Samoa
The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Samoa despite the tragedy of the measles epidemic.
Although the celebrations across the country are low key compared to previous years, Samoa has joined the world to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ with carols, gift giving and lots of merry making.
Christmas eve was somewhat hampered by heavy rain.
But all was well on the morning of Christmas when thousands headed for different church services.
At the Methodist Church at Vailoa, they welcomed Christmas with a thanksgiving service.
The church service was led by Pastor Tavita Loto.
“Our sermon this morning is based on a bible verse from Isaiah 62: 10,” he said.
“The bible verse states, ‘Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.’
He advised the congregation to prepare their hearts and spirit for God to dwell in.
“Christmas symbolises that we are in times of renewal, a time to renew families, homes, relationships, and bonds.
“It is a time where families stop all their normal chores and obligations but choose to go back to extended families to gather and reunite in one roof.
“This is the same message being relayed from the bible verse from Isaiah that the people of Israel has returned to Jerusalem.”
He added that it was God’s will to return its people but also renew its people and its surroundings.
“God gave so many commands to Israel in renewing or preparing its lands. It is not easy to change something that was bad into something good.
"Despite our congregation not having everyone, we pray for everyone to be safe and have a merry Christmas."
Other church denominations such as the Catholic Church also hosted church services on Christmas day.