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The lessons of Christmas

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As Nigerian Christians join their counterparts in the Christendom worldwide to mark this year’s Christmas, one poser before the celebrants is whether they have fully resolved to imbibe the major lessons of the all-important event that focuses on God’s unconditional love for mankind for which He sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, as salvation for all believers.

Sadly, however, the occasion, which will be observed with pomp and colour on December 25 to mark the birth of Christ over 2,000 years ago, with the Federal Government declaring Monday and Tuesday as public holidays, coincided with a period of time our country and her citizens are grappling with debilitating challenges ranging from insecurity, unemployment, poverty, hunger, decaying public infrastructures to the high cost of living.

We, therefore, implore the faithful to seize the rare opportunity offered by the historic event to deeply reflect on the real essence of Christmas and embrace same with a contrite heart as well as adopt the right attitude in their public and private conduct and genuinely seek divine intervention to the nation’s problems to make life more meaningful.

Days before the event, there is excitement in the air coupled with commercial activities across the country; traders stacking shops with new stocks and many customers buying; gifts also being sent to recipients; greeting cards are exchanged; Christmas trees, decors and the lights in strategic locations with beautiful designs and last-minute shopping for those who can afford in readiness for the memorable occasion.

Travellers are similarly not left out as they criss-cross parts of the country to observe the annual event with their loved ones while transporters, market men and women have been capitalizing on the moment to hike fares as much as over 100 per cent and the costs of goods and services respectively in order to profiteer.

Specifically, we strongly appeal to sellers not to exploit buyers due to the high demand of the season through arbitrary increases in the costs of their goods especially foodstuffs as doing so totally negates the essence of Christmas, which is the love of God and for neighbour.

In a similar vein, transporters who have hiked transport fares on major routes especially from Lagos to other parts of the country including the South-East should revert to the old rates to mitigate the hardship being inflicted on passengers.

We challenge our security agencies to be at high alert to provide tight security not only for travellers before, during and after the festivities but to all citizens considering the rising crime wave such as banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, and armed robbery, which have claimed hundreds of souls and adversely affected the nation’s socio-economic development.

Similarly, officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, should intensify their current patrols on the nation’s strategic highways in order to keep the drivers in check, contain their reckless driving and over speed as well as decongest the heavy vehicular traffic that is usually the hallmark of the season.

Christians are further enjoined to celebrate in moderation, shower some love and gifts to prisoners, beggars, motherless babies, helpless orphans, hospital patients and other vulnerable members of the society who will not be actively involved in the celebration and not lose sight that Jesus Christ is the real essence of Christmas.

In our view, their priority should be the spiritual renewal that will guarantee them eternal salvation by emulating the virtues of the messiah during his life ministry, especially his humility, holiness, absolute faith in God and service to mankind.

Christians are further reminded about the vanity of life without Jesus Christ; shun greed and all evils since all human beings are mortals on earth even as they strive to make the eternal home in heaven.

They should be mindful of the popular quote in the Gospel of John in the Bible that: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”, while the will of God is for them to honour and reverence His son Jesus who died on the cross for humanity to be saved.

Therefore, considering that Jesus is the essence of Christmas, we challenge Christians to also appreciate God for sending a saviour to the world, rekindle their faith in God through a personal relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, and be receivers and doers of His commandments.

The season, it must also be noted, is a time for the faithful to share God’s goodness and the good news with others, forgive those who offended them, be compassionate, always be good to all and imbibe the time-tested golden rule of ‘do unto others what you wish they do to you’.

We call on celebrants to continually offer special prayers in churches for a divine solution to Nigeria’s myriads of problems especially an end to endless killings and maiming of fellow citizens by terrorists and bandits as well as achieve lasting peace for the stability, socio-economic and technological development of the country as there can’t be any progress amid anarchy.

Christians who are public office holders at all levels of government are further enjoined to, in the spirit of Christmas, always put the people first in their service to the fatherland as well as make honesty, integrity, hard work and discipline their watchwords.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all.

For a better society



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