The global Christian community today, as always, celebrates the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Its spectacle is the symbolism it holds for Christendom. Universally, this period is used to reflect on the life and times of the son of God, Jesus Christ, who died for our transgressions.
Beyond the conviviality that appears to be eroding the spiritual component of this season, the message of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can never be lost on all those who subscribe to Christianity.
This is a special period that is used for reflection on the essence of the coming of our lord and the ransom he paid by his death on the Cross so that humanity can be redeemed. All apostles of God’s begotten son strive to live a Christ-like life so that when he comes again all those who complied with his teachings will be enraptured en route to heavenly bliss.
This, obviously, is the central theme of spirituality and eschatological expectations. Indeed, the belief among the Christian faithful is that those who disobey the canonical laws will end up in hell! This underscores the character of all subscribers to this faith.
As Christ exhorted his followers, this time, more than any other season, is the opportune moment to forgive one another. Loving our neighbours will be a mirage if we do not genuinely forgive those who have sinned against us.
Bearing grudges against one another is the very antithesis of the cardinal principle of Christianity which espouses undiluted—agape—love for everyone, including followers of other religions. We use this occasion to call on Nigerians to eschew religious bigotry, hate and fanaticism as those who do not understand the teachings of their faith stand them on the head and go about fomenting trouble across religious divides unnecessarily. In the process of the avoidable sectarian clashes, lives are lost and valuables destroyed because of religious stupidity.
In the country’s present circumstances amid ethno-religious challenges, we implore Christians to emulate Christ by preaching love and forgiving all those who wrong them.
Any contrary disposition will be seen as anti-Christ. The spirit of the Lord should mandatorily dwell in anyone who professes Christianity. Once this is imbibed and extended to all Christians and non-Christians alike, the spate of religious crises in the country will begin to nosedive and the Nigerian society will be better for it.
We must co-exist irrespective of our religious differences. The need for harmonious co-habitation can never be overemphasised, especially in a secular polity as we have here. Countries whose citizens engaged in religious warfare never survived them.
Just as Christ preached love, peace and upright living, we enjoin all Christians on the occasion of this year’s Yuletide to conduct themselves in such a way that people around them can attest to their life of purity, accommodation, love and unity. Brethren cannot engage in biblical preachments and behave in a manner that belies what they profess.
The character of any Christian should be manifestly measurable and exemplary by all yardsticks. Otherwise, there would be no distinction between those who have known Christ and those yet to come in touch with his goodness and abounding love for mankind.
We wish all Nigerians, particularly Christians at this time, successful celebration of the essence of this season and implore them to pray for the country so that the present religious-based terrorism in the land will come to an end soonest.
The spiritual lordships of all the religions, it must be repeated, abhor acts of bestiality and barbarism in the name of worship. May God, in His infinite mercy, grant us the wisdom to be tolerant of one another despite our religious incongruence. We wish everyone a merry Xmas.