From this weekend and for the next ten days the atmosphere the world over would look like heaven on earth. In most places across the globe people would find one reason or the other to be in a celebratory mood. In some of the instances, it would not matter if they had hiccups in some aspects of their lives during the year, what would be uppermost is to discover one reason to warrant some moments of ecstasy and the motivating factor would be the introduction of the Jesus factor into the affairs of humanity. I like the controversy surrounding both the birth and date chosen as the birthday anniversary; it was bound to be so because the issue of Christ at the time it began was a case of a bad situation requiring an exceptional being.
Exceptional beings always leave behind a legacy full of ripples, and Christ has His own and they are many. The process of His birth is one. To the uninitiated it is a foolish story told to fill the void but to the faithful they know that God uses the foolish things to confound the wise and to proof the limitation of human wisdom; after all even today incurable ailments by medical science like cancer, infertility, damaged and removed uterus are all being adequately handled with declarations made in Jesus name and the question is how does this come by? Only fools doubt proofs! So many have come claiming to be a messiah, but a careful check would confirm that of all of them, Jesus Christ more than 2000 years after He came remained the most potent. From record, as of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion with an estimated 2.2 billion, nearly a third of all 6.9 billion people on earth. Also Jesus Christ holds the record of the single largest employer of labour.
When Jesus was born he came face to face with the wickedness in the heart of men. Christ was yet an infant who hardly could comprehend anything happening around him yet the colonial authority which at the time was Rome represented by King Herod decreed moves to assassinate the new born baby. They missed Christ but not before thousands of other innocent sons were prematurely dispatched to the great beyond for no fault of theirs or their parents. But the Christian God is not just marvelous, He is mighty, He is the Author and Finisher, He can raise the dead and the only Doctor that can revive a patient brought in dead. The most beautiful is that He changes the seasons to reflect what He wants. Before the introduction of Jesus, the Julian calendar ruled the life of Caesar but after the death of Caesar, the date of his transition was marked by the Gregorian calendar calculated after the death (AD) of Jesus Christ.
Every good and potent person would always come under critical scrutiny and many times under attacks. The experience with Christmas has not been different. Somebody invented ‘Xmas’ which is not correct for the simple reason that ‘X’ in mathematics represents unknown but in the case of Christ and Christmas, Christ who is the reason for the season was here and even non-Christian records acknowledge His presence and extraordinary activities while Jesus remains the only spiritual figure acknowledged and recognized by nearly all the other faiths including the esoteric organizations. So those who know should write ‘Christmas’ in full and not ‘Xmas’. This event is important in the life of the individual and the nation and the reason is Christ came after man opted to run the earth and his activities according to the wisdom of men; that period before Christ was nasty and brutish, men were lovers of themselves, so much distortion was introduced to the point where mere existence was difficult and humans killed each other for food. It was a wicked world and an era of darkness.
Today we celebrate the occasion as a ritual, to many there is nothing in it, it is just a period of rest and opportunity to see and reunite with long forgotten friends and relations. In America there is even the argument that the law prescribing Christmas holiday should be reworded to say ‘National holiday’ and the intention is to do away with the Christ factor in the celebration, a factor that should motivate man and particularly leaders to work hard to positively structure their societies and nations. But like we see from the American experience there is this invisible force always pulling man away from embracing the positive but rather align with the negative. Americans want less of Christ but more of drug addiction, lesbianism, homosexuality, gay marriage, guns in every hand etc, all of which Christ came to reorder. I have just used America as an example; the same negative behavior cuts across other nations, including ours and this attitude which borders on charade has been going on for a very long time and nobody, including church leaders, who traditionally should be the custodians of the virtues of Jesus, have seen the need to rise and set the paths straight, they would rather see the event as another occasion to rake in income.
The Black world, Nigeria inclusive, must embrace Christ and scrupulously apply His precepts; and what are those precepts? Christ is about wisdom, wisdom is applied knowledge. Check the Black world, one of the things holding us down is the absence of wisdom. It has reached a ridiculous level where most citizens say we don’t need certificates to be a leader; in such a modern world with all the complexities in science, research, technology and development? Machiavelli, former Italian president said for a leader to gain from his advisers, he must be as educated as they are if not more. Christ was about vision – from His early age He could see a new kingdom inhabited by a new set of people whose distinguishing feature would be a new heart weaned in love. Once He got His picture clear He remained glued to it knowing that a double minded person achieves nothing.
Sixty years after independence no one is sure if we have an ideology that drives development; if we have, nobody knows, not even those who say they rule us and those who may want to know. If we know we won’t behave the way we do and the things we do. We won’t work in a staccato manner; our acts would be pointed because the picture is clear. If there is love we won’t steal public funds, citizens would not be divided into indigenes and non-indigenes, there wouldn’t be need to kill fellow citizens or any human at all to advance narrow interest, religion would not be a source of conflict the way it has been in our nation and the Black world in general. Finally the Black man would naturally appreciate the dignity associated with hard work. The truth is that science is good but science alone cannot give us a developed, progressive society, we need as well a conscience that is alive, that is where the virtues of Christ come into play. Until the word becomes flesh, the Black man will remain in the circle of perennial stupidity.
May this Christmas offer us a lifeline! MERRY CHRISTMAS!