Christians and indeed all Nigerians
have been called upon to celebrate the joy of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ, inspite of the security and economic challenges confronting the country.
The charge was given by Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Lagos, in his 2021 Christmas message titled, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come”, signed by Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, Director, Directorate of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.
Archbishop Martins further urged Nigerians to be grateful to God for the gift of life, and for the grace granted to them to survive the numerous security challenges that was witnessed in the country in the outgoing year.
He said: “Being alive to witness yet another Christmas is a great gift from God that should never be taken for granted, particularly in our present realities.
“We know that thousands who started this year with us are no longer here; having fallen victim to the endemic insecurity in the land caused by kidnappers, bandits, Boko Haram terrorists, COVID-19, amongst others.
“Having come thus far, we must remain thankful and hopeful that the good Lord will sustain us to the end of this year and beyond.”
While calling on Nigerians, irrespective of religious and tribal leanings, to learn to live in peace, love and unity as exemplified by the life of Jesus Christ, the Archbishop urged them to put aside their fears and open their minds and hearts to the beautiful message of the season.
“The message of Christmas is a message of hope for everyone. The message that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to redeem us and show us the way to the Father in heaven, should raise our hope that all is not lost, despite all our problems. God cares and is in control even if it is difficult to see”, he said.
Archbishop Martins also charged the people to offer all that is within their power in order to bring joy to others, especially those in the state of despair. This he stated should be the desire of everyone not only in this season, but at every other time.
He said: “We must be generous to the less-privileged in our midst through our kind words of affirmation and offering the support that we can as our proclamation of the joyous tidings that ‘God is with us.’ By so doing, we will, in no small measure, help to dampen the wave of violence and hunger in our land, awaken hope in the hopeless, give water of life to the thirsty and food to the hungry, as well as joy to those in distress. This is what God expects from us during this yuletide and beyond.”
The Prelate also enjoined the Federal Government to redouble efforts in stemming the tide of insecurity in the country, particularly during the yuletide and New Year celebrations, adding that in the midst of insecurity and anxiety, due to the killings, kidnappings and other criminal acts, people must be able to see hope in the actions and policies of their government.