Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, has enjoined Christians and indeed all Nigerians to allow the joy and peace of Christ to permeate their lives by opening their hands of love and fellowship to the less privileged this Christmas season.
In his 2018 Christmas Message made available through the Director of Social Communications, Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Archbishop Martins said the birth of Christ remains the greatest demonstration of the love of God to all humanity.
“Taking human flesh and being born into the human family affords all human beings a great opportunity to reaffirm the dignity of the human person so that we can unite in thanksgiving to the Creator who gave us a chance to be reunited with God after the fall (of Adam) and inspires us to unite with one another and the whole creation. This is why we are called not only to love our fellow human beings with a passion but also to show great care for the environment at this time and all the time.’’
According to Archbishop Martins, “Christmas season is a period of joy and celebrations but also one of stock-taking, self-evaluation and thanksgiving to God. The season expresses the boundless love of God – a love that heralds hope, inaugurates peace, engenders faith, and establishes the triumph of justice.”
He urged Christians not to lose the spiritual essence of the celebration to the externals of decorations, exchange of gifts and eating and drinking. The spiritual essence is the heart, the most important and significant aspect of the season, he reiterated.
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“As we busy ourselves with traveling, shopping, partying, cleaning and other material preparations for Christmas, let us not lose sight of its spiritual significance – the opportunity to encounter Jesus and embrace his offer of friendship and salvation.”
While congratulating all Nigerians for the opportunity of witnessing yet another celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, Martins urged them not to waste their resources by indulging in idle frivolities but to use it to put smiles on the faces of their less-privileged neighbours, particularly the IDPs who have been forced out of their ancestral homes as a result of acts of war and hostilities.
He enjoined governments at all levels in Nigeria to help put smiles on the faces of Nigerian workers by paying their salaries and entitlements on time to enable them celebrate the Yuletide meaningfully with their loved ones. He also urged government to speedily assent to workers’ demand for an increased minimum wage.
As they assent to the workers’ demands, he urged government to seek more sustainable ways of meeting the needs of Nigerian workers without the perennial wage increase that in turn creates inflation.