By Cosmas Omegoh, Lagos
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Reverend Alfred Adewale Martins, has called on all Nigerians to celebrate the joy of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ, despite the insecurity and economic challenges in the country.
In his 2021 Christmas message titled “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,” signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev Fr Anthony Godonu, Archbishop Martins also encouraged all citizens to be grateful to God for the gift of life, and for the grace of surviving the numerous security challenges that have arisen in the outgoing year.
‘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,’ he said.
While calling on all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious and tribal inclinations, to learn to live in peace, love and unity as exemplified by the life of Jesus Christ, he equally 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,’ he said. God cares and is in control even if it is difficult to see.
The Archbishop also charged all Nigerians to offer all that is within their power in order to bring joy to people especially those in a state of despair. This should be the desire of everyone not only in this season but all the time.
‘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 the water of life to the thirsty and food to the hungry as well as a joy to those in distress. These are what God expects from us during this yuletide and beyond,’ he said.
Finally, the prelate enjoined the Federal Government to redouble efforts in stemming the tide of insecurity in the country, particularly during the Yuletide and New Year celebrations. In the midst of insecurity and anxiety due to the killings, kidnappings etc, people must be able to see hope in the actions and policies of their governments.