Clerics speak on importance of christmas and how christians should celebrate

Pastor Lazarus Muoka

As Nigerian Christians join their brethren globally to celebrate Christmas tomorrow, men of God are reminding them that the season is not about merriment alone, as the spiritual aspect is even more important. The significance of the birth and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ should be the reason for the season. CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.

‘Christmas Season Calls For Patience’
(Rev. Dr. Samson Supo Ayokunle, National President, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN)
THE Christmas story is all about the covenant-keeping God fulfilling His promises to humans through the birth of Jesus, the Christ. His birth was prophesied many years before, but fulfilled at the fullness of time. This calls for patience. Nigerians should be patiently awaiting the transformation God would bring to our nation in the coming year, as the fullness of time is around. 

Equally, God can break natural laws to accomplish His purposes in our lives, as He broke it in the life of Mary, making a woman who never met with man before to conceive and deliver a baby. Let us trust this covenant keeping God to turn situation around for us beating all known natural laws. It shall be well in the name of Jesus.

In view of the above, let us celebrate the Lord’s birth in the attitude of patience and hope for a better day, because our God will keep all His promises concerning us. Let us also celebrate it, trusting Him to break all known natural laws to bring us the best and turn our nation around for better. It should never be celebrated in orgies and criminal activities. It should be celebrated in the attitude of appreciation to God, Who has been keeping His promises over us and our nation in the time past. We should also keep our promises to others, so that they might rejoice through us.

‘I Urge Christians To Ensure There’s
Nothing Standing Between Them And God’
(Pastor Lazarus Muoka, General Overseer, The Lord’s
Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries, Worldwide)

MY message to Christians all over the nation is that they should know there is no more time, because the coming of Jesus is at hand and everything we are seeing today is pointing to the fact that Christ’s second coming is at hand. So, I urge Christians to continue to depend on the Lord, draw closer to Him and amend their ways and ensure there is nothing standing between them and God. So, when the trumpet shall sound, our race shall not be in vain because the aim is to make rapture. Believers should give themselves wholly to evangelism, soul-winning and ensure righteousness on every side. They should also try as much as possible to maintain peace with one another because without peace, and holiness there is no way one can make the rapture.

For instance, the Bible in Hebrews 12:14, says, follow peace with all men, and holiness, without, which no man shall see the Lord. And many of them are talking about rapture and the coming of Christ and yet you find that there is contention, strife, unrighteousness, unforgiveness and hatred. Yet, they feel nothing wrong, but you can see those things happening. I know that every man of God has the right to protect his flock and preserve them from going to other places, but that should not make us to miss the mark. While you are trying to preserve your flock, maintain holiness, don’t teach your members to hate one another, or hate other Christians, or hate other people because they left your church. If truly you believe in God, what you should do is to hand them over to God. It is wrong for you to indoctrinate hatred in them.

‘We Must Thank God That We Are
Alive To Celebrate Another Christmas’
(His Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins,
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos)
CHRISTMAS comes every year, but every year is not exactly the same as the previous one. Christmas is a celebration of renewed hope, a celebration of the fact that with all difficulties that are with us, God is interested and willing to do something about it. That is what Christmas is really about in many ways and so, when we celebrate it every year, it is this renewed hope that we celebrate and so we must give thanks to God for this opportunity of celebrating again. Christmas is a season, when we all lighten up; we eat and drink, and have a good time, and it is right. But our people should ensure that the eating and drinking are done in moderation. People should not do things in excess at this period, especially young people who throw bangers anyhow. They should be careful not to set houses on fire or injure people, but should celebrate the season moderately. I think these are important things at this point in time. We must give thanks to God that we are still alive; we are well and even if we are not all well, at least we must give thanks to God. This is also the time when we recognise that Jesus was born. He didn’t have a place to live; He didn’t have a decent place to be born, but He came in such a lonely way.

I think this should give everyone a feeling of reaching out to those who are disadvantaged in any way. Those who have opportunity of reaching out to those in need should spend this time to do the best they can to ameliorate the lives of the underprivileged. I think that this should be a demonstration of the love of Christ, which we celebrate at this time. Then, of course, you know that the majority of people are under a lot stress with all the problems of security, unemployment and all else. I think this should give those who have responsibilities in government a renewed zeal to do something in order to ameliorate the problems of Nigerians at this time.

‘As We Celebrate We Should Advance
Peace And Unity Of Our Country’
(Dr. Cosmas Ilechukwu, General Overseer, Charismatic
Renewal Ministries/National Vice-President (PFN)
CHRISTMAS is a happy season, when the world celebrates the birth of its Saviour. The essence of Christmas is that God sent His only begotten Son as a love gift for the salvation of humankind. The exuberant angelic emissary, who brought the good news of the birth of Jesus to shepherds said to them: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11, NKJV). The coming of Jesus to the world is a watershed event in history. It was one that changed the world and the way we live and relate in it. Christmas is designed to be a time of great joy, when people luxuriate in an atmosphere of peace devoid of fear and threat of any kind. It is a time we celebrate salvation and not damnation, we celebrate the Saviour and not the destroyer, and we celebrate life and not death. We should celebrate this Christmas spreading the “good tidings of great joy” of God’s love for all people without discrimination rather than trend in abusive languages and ill-motivated rumours.

I, therefore, call on all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe or religion, to embrace peace and joy, which are the hallmark of Christ, Whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Let us eschew all forms of violence and brigandage, as well as debauchery and rivalry, as these are antithetic to the Person and ideals of Christ. Let us extend the right hand of love and friendship and help one another to have a taste of the loveliness and goodness of Jesus our Saviour. Christmas affords us a new opportunity to renew our hope as individuals and as a people, in the possibility of building a strong and prosperous nation, bound in freedom, peace and unity. We should take advantage of the unifying influence of Christmas to advance the peace and unity of our country, by joining hands to build a Nigeria for all Nigerians by all Nigerians. I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

‘We Must Celebrate In Holiness, In Forgiveness, In Humility And In Love’
(Baba Aladura, Elder (Dr.) Israel Akinadewo, Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Lagos State/Prelate, Motailatu Church, Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide)
AS Christians, Christ has taught us that we must never lose hope. He has taught that there is nobody that wants to be great in life that will not face challenges. He exemplified this Himself by leaving the position He was to come to the world in human form. And if He endured all pains, tribulations and attacks to the extent that He knew that at the end of these challenges there was a crown waiting for Him. It’s just like gold. Of course, gold cannot become gold, if it did not pass through fire. So, whatever we are even passing through, whatever is happening now, it is not for us to be thinking that God has forgotten us or that He has forsaken us. We are supposed to know that they are necessary for us to get to the next level. And the message is very clear: Nigeria will get to the next level in the name of Jesus. So, whatsoever we are experiencing in all sectors, we are not to blame our leaders. Rather, we are to see them from the perspective of challenges that must help us before we can get to our destination, and I believe that next year will be much better for us in the name of Christ Jesus Christ.

Christmas is meant for us to celebrate Jesus Christ, because we know that without Him, everybody would have died in sin. We know that without Him, there will be no freedom for us. Without Him, there will be no liberation. So, for a Man, Who sacrificed all these, do you know what they call it ‘capital punishment’ despite the fact that they said an armed robber should be freed at that time, while an innocent man was asked to be crucified? He endured all that, and even when He was being crucified, He had the opportunity of telling the Father to destroy all His enemies, but instead, He said: ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’

So, that is exactly what the month stands for. That is why Christmas celebration is very important without attachment of anybody making mockery of theology. Jesus Christ deserves more because without Him we will not be alive today. And I want us to celebrate it not in sinfulness, but in the way He wants us to live our lives in holiness, righteousness, forthrightness, in forgiveness, humility and in love. And when we do that, I can tell you the whole world will appreciate that Jesus Christ is the Savour of mankind.

‘God Wants Us To Draw Close
To Him, Especially At This Time’
(Most Revd. Dr. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, Bishop of Lagos/Dean Emeritus, Church
of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

IT is another Christmas season, commemorating the first coming or advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. This spectacular and great event, which occurred over 2, 000 years ago brought hope and succour to the human race. This event occurred at a time, when the world was in great darkness and was trapped in both religious and social-political problems. It was in the midst of hopelessness and uncertainties. People then were probably expecting a sudden end and judgment, but instead, God visited man to give him hope and redemption. “Unto us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulders and will be called the Prince of peace, wonderful counsellor” Isaiah 9:6.

In today’s world, especially our nation, the myriad of problems and challenges are evident everywhere. These range from neglect, suffering, poverty, diseases, robbery and kidnapping, communal clashes, religious war to political fracas, insurgency, violence and natural disasters, which are fast becoming part of our everyday lives.

A careful look into the purpose of the birth of Christ shall reveal the importance of peaceful government. This should be a challenge to our government and those in power, as well as those seeking powers and our political institutions to pursue peace.

In our various communities, states and at national levels, we need peace, as it is only in the atmosphere of peace that meaningful development can thrive and spread across our nation Nigeria.

Provision of adequate security arrangement by the federal and state governments must not be compromised at any time. The legislative arms of government should apply their constitutional powers of making laws to ensure adequate provision are being made in the budget for the security institutions and agencies. Our government should work with the government of neighbouring countries like Chad, Niger, Cameroun, as well as the international community to stamp out insurgency.

The message and lessons of Christmas must, therefore, be appropriated to the salvation in our land. We must see hope that Christ brought to the world and must rise together to overcome our challenges, as we first set our priorities right. Christ is the reason for Christmas. Our God is still very much with us, if we would draw close to Him, especially at this time, as we celebrate and commemorate His birth. He alone knows those things that make for our peace. As we celebrate Christmas, there is urgent need for all of us to return to God, the Author of peace. We should confess our sins, repent and pray to God to return our nation back to the era of peace and progress.

‘We Should Emulate Christ’s Lifestyle While Here On Earth’
(Prophet Samuel Kayode Abiara, General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church, CAC, Worldwide)
AS we celebrate this season, we should realise that Jesus Christ is the reason for the celebration. The lesson we are learning from Christ’s birth as the Saviour of the world is that He humbled Himself to the point of being born in a manger. So, as Christians, that is teaching us about humility. It is teaching us about sacrifice, that even though He was God, yet He didn’t allow that to get into His head like we experience today in the world. He is a Master, and those wanting to be masters in this world must humble themselves. Likewise, those in government must humble themselves. That is why we are celebrating this unique occasion at this point in time.

How should it be celebrated? We should look to the example He demonstrated, when He was alive. Even though He is God, yet He did not make Himself equal with the Father. We are to celebrate the season not in a reckless manner. We must be willing to help people, the poor, the less privileged in the society. Apart from your own immediate family, you should go out of your way to help other people who are not members of your immediate family. That is what the season is all about. It is about giving; it is about helping other people in need. If we can do that, then we are fulfilling the season and why He came to the world.

‘Exhibit Virtues Of Jesus Christ’
(Elder Enock Ajiboso, National Chairman, The Christian Conscience Group)
I CALL on Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion and political inclination to celebrate this year’s yuletide season in love and harmony. They are also enjoined to exhibit the virtues of Jesus Christ that encouraged everyone to live in togetherness, in love and give generously to the less privileged and the poor in our midst. When we love one another, there won’t be discrimination, lust for illegal accumulation of wealth, hatred, killings and insecurity, rather, we would strive to collectively build a proudly united nation. In reference to this, we should all pray for President Muhummadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo-led administration in their efforts to bring dividends of democracy to the people.

Let’s remember that Nigeria will only prosper and attain greatness when its citizens love and live in contentment without stealing the common wealth and accumulating unnecessary wealth at the detriment of the common people. As a group, we call on our political leaders to eschew bitterness as well as join hands with other religious leaders to pray ceaselessly for our leaders that God should touch their hearts to lead the country well. We wish the entire nation a merry Christmas and prosperous new year, and at the same time urge Nigerians to be security conscious and celebrate moderately.

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