Notwithstanding the extravagance that often mark Christmas, the spiritual ethos of Christ’s fundamental purpose of salvation must remain paramount.
For many Nigerians this year’s Christmas celebration would, again, be anything but merry. Nigerians, in recent years, have had the misfortune of marking the yuletide, with tragedies arising from terrorist attacks, as well as the anguish of fuel scarcity, robberies and prohibitive market prices.
This year seems worse, with spate of killings and violence across the country. These persistent adversities, as well as the recent massacre of Nigerian soldiers have, once more, cast a gloomy shadow over this year’s yuletide. The Metele killings and previous bombardments of military bases are major indicators of the nation’s calamitous condition.
Yet the days ahead seem even more dangerous, with fear that Boko Haram and their ilk, may attack soft targets during the holidays. Since the civil war, never has the country witnessed this level of carnage and destruction of property. Many affected communities are yet to recover from these gruesome invasions, which engulfed Benue, and later spread to Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Zamfara and Southern States.
Cumulatively, the consequence of widespread violence is worsening underdevelopment, as more citizens are simply hungry and deprived of basic amenities, with no discernible signs of sustainable relief, beyond few disputable programmes. Many of these schemes, have been thrashed by economic experts, due to inherent inconsistencies.
Beyond the nation’s dismal demographic profile, sundry surveys show that most people, subsist on less than one dollar a day and can ill afford decent meals, in this cheery time. Costs of transportation, rice, garri, yam, beans, poultry, livestock and essential goods and services, have skyrocketed as usual, due to failure of relevant government agencies to combat inflationary measures, often precipitated by the festivity.
Ironically, despite the despair across society, some politicians, have continued to sponsor bogus ‘Father Christmas’ parties and social events to deceive the masses. Obviously some politicians lack capacity and will to revive the country, which remains the world’s largest concentration of poor people.
The choice for citizens to end these anomalies, is to elect honest and responsible leaders, capable of steering the Nigerian ship from the doldrums.
This notwithstanding, many Nigerians will still join the rest of the world to celebrate the yuletide. Indeed Christmas is a joyous commemoration of the nativity of Jesus Christ.Christ’s meteoric mission to salvage humanity from eternal damnation is the reason for the season. His humble birth in a manger and miraculous lifestyle, remain historically phenomenal and irrefutable.
Interestingly his immaculate conception is a reality that has defied human logic and scientific probe. Jesus redefined the history of mankind, as he guarantees believers salvation and heavenly peace, amidst life’s turmoil and turbulence.
This was succinctly recorded in Mathew’s gospel: ‘She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Numerous biblical accounts and archaeological evidences of his supernatural prowess and miraculous ministry in Israel, all reflect his divinity. It is not surprising that, over the years, Christmas has metamorphosed into a global celebration of monumental grandeur.
It has radically transmuted from a modest Christian event, to what is generally adjudged the world’s biggest festivity. Annually, it is estimated that the yuletide rakes in incomputable The quantum of business deals, and earnings, raked in worldwide, during this annual celebration, are reportedly unquantifiable and incomparable. With the entertainment industry at its peak, the season records the highest sales, biggest fireworks, and largest travels globally.
Notwithstanding the extravagance that often mark this festival, the spiritual ethos of Christ’s fundamental purpose of salvation must remain paramount, particularly for believers. The church and Christian leaders have the onerous responsibility to amplify this theme, in order to steer the society away from the stupendous display of hedonism and profligacy, characteristic of the period.
Christmas parties and hampers take a huge chunk of personal expenditures. Many government officials have joined in this shopping spree and bogus entertainment bazaars, despite the nation’s outrageous debt burden and humongous infrastructural deficiencies. Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock church at the recent gospel concert, ‘The Experience’, berated the brazen craze for wealth saying: ‘As a country we value prosperity over posterity. We value instant gratification over hard work.’
Despite the craze for unnecessary exhibition of wealth and ostentatious lifestyle, that characterise the date, Christ should be the centrality of the jollification. Wanton display of extravagance, not only aggravates crime , but also contravenes the spirit and character of his eternal personage. The need to restore the simplicity and purity of Christmas cannot be more urgent, in order to reduce high fatalities from auto crashes, drinking orgies, drunk driving and dangerous fireworks.
Invariably violence and incessant attacks of travellers and tourists would also ebb, if society’s value system improves. Preachers should continue to discourage, believers from embracing destructive tendencies and nefarious eccentricities, that distort the essence of the celebration. Christians are enjoined to be modest and exemplary in order to exhibit the Jesus of the bible, who was born in a lowly manger. He left heaven’s glory to come into a decayed world to salvage humanity from eternal damnation.
This is the real reason for the joy of the season.
Indeed Christmas should be merry for every one including Nigerians.
Ojukwu, a journalist and Humphrey Fellow writes via [email protected]