To wish a fellow Nigerian a Merry Christmas now is, no doubt, the hardest thing to do. Precisely because 2013 has left him economically weakened and physically insecure. It may be just as difficult to wish your next door neighbour a Prosperous New Year given the foreboding of the outgoing year.
Yet, this is exactly what Christmas, being celebrated today, December 25, in all Christendom to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian faith, calls for. As the Holy Scripture says, just when the Earth seemed headed for destruction because of Man’s rebelliousness, God, his Creator, showed him immeasurable love by coming down to earth in a human form (Jesus Christ) to save him. Christ would go on to show that it was possible for man to live a godly life; more importantly, he would demonstrate the greatest act of love by giving his life to save Man from death—the price he would have had to pay for his sins.
The message of Christmas, therefore, is that people of the faith, particularly Christians in this context, must never give in to despair, no matter how precarious their situation. However, this is not a call to sit back and do nothing because God has supplied salvation. Christians, at this time, should not be contented with just drinking to their fill from the cup of grace offered by the divine birth of Jesus Christ but be challenged by his exemplary life on earth, marked by holiness, humility, and more significantly, love which led him to take the place of the sinner on the Cross at Golgotha.
We at Peoples Daily share the joy of our Christian brethren as they celebrate Christmas, but we beg to advise against boisterous festivities that would dull our senses against the critical political and socio-economic challenges that assail our nation today, and even as we move into the New year. We should spare a thought for lives already lost in the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency and other violent crimes; let us be vigilant and give what assistance we can offer to the authorities. Above all, our faith in God must not waver, for, with God on our side who can be against us?
However, God will not come down from his place on high to fight our earthly battles. This is why He has given us leaders as his eyes and ears. They are, therefore, expected to be god-fearing, caring and strong. Regrettably, Nigerian leaders have not acquitted themselves, individually and collectively, well before God and fellow Nigerians. There is nauseating corruption in high places and immorality is eating up the land. To paraphrase the Holy Scripture, Nigerians today are like sheep without a shepherd; ours is a nation adrift. This occasion of Christmas, therefore, offers an opportunity to all Nigerians to renew our faith in our God and, in particular, our leaders to recommit to the service of the motherland as never before.
This is Christmas; let’s make merry, but be also watchful.