The Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga has urged Christians in Nigeria to emulate Christ and use the season of Christmas to spread love, peace and tranquility in the country.
His Lordship spoke at his annual Christmas press conference at the Bishop’s court, Enugu.
His Lordship decried the level of hardship that is pervading the nation at all levels of life, and urged Nigerians to espouse love, tolerance and charity even at their seeming lowest state.
His Lordship expressed his optimism that as the joy of celebration grip the Christmas season across the nation especially in the southeast, such hope for better days and attitude for love will be sustained amongst the people.
His Message Reads:
“Christmas is a season for the commemoration of the birth of Christ.
“It reminds us of God’s love for us human beings when our first parents sinned. They lost the grace that God had given them from the start, but God again sort out ways to continue to show his love to human beings and this is what is expressed in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It means that God came and took flesh in other to redeem flesh, that God came down to humanity in other to elevate humanity. This is what we commemorate at Christmas.
“The circumstances that led to the very great jubilation that we experience at Christmas season every year still exists. The chosen people of God under the Roman rule were feeling squeezed, lost their freedom and were looking out for a saviour, somebody that will free them. This had been promised them by many prophets. God even promised Abraham. Therefore, when eventually Christ came into the world, the jubiliation was high, with all the signs, the three wise men came to proclaim that the saviour has been born.
“But then, the whole concept of the saviour in their own understanding was a bit different from the understanding of God. They were expecting a man with a lot of military power, alot of military possibilities to suppress and submerge their enemies and that was why they felt their freedom would be physical. There was this singing everywhere, in fact, the whole of Jerusalem, the Semitic world was agog with celebration and joy.
“That very feeling of peace, and joy has not gone out of Christmas. Hence, the circumstances of joy continues every year but this year’s is very significant. I will say that anybody here in the South East would be celebrating Christmas extraordinarily, having seen what we passed through since May, June, July, August September, etc., with the issue of the unknown gunmen, unknown killers, everything unknown. life became strangled. People were pushed to their corners, freedom was lost, but eventually as Christmas was approaching, things started easing out and people could say, ‘ahh, so we are alive to celebrate Christmas again’.
“A lot of problems besieged us this year. There’s no food to eat. Food has become a very rare commodity. Most people couldn’t plant this year because of the insecurity in our areas by the herdsmen. Then came insecurity of our own people who disrupted our work at certain time. Today, somebody can go on air and announce Sit-at-home at will and lives will be lost because of it.
“Self determination, lack of infrastructural care, lack of employment have been there, but that of this recent period became a little too much.
“Having gone through the difficult moments of the year 2021, through the drop out from Coronavirus that killed alot of people in the first quarter and still killing today, the insecurity problems and shortage food supply, we should all be filled with joy and thanksgiving to God this christmas season.
“Therefore, I wish everybody the joy and peace of Christ and pray that it endures and lead us into the new Year. I pray that the new Year will be better than this year. I pray that the new Year will give us big hope of survival, big hope of a nation that is still together.
“Christmas is a season for sharing. Let us not forget it’s a season for giving. It’s a season for making it possible for people to enjoy life a bit.
“So, inspite of the economic hardships that we are experiencing, may we always remember that we should as well think of our underprivileged group. You may not have enough rice to eat, but there are people who don’t have anything to eat.
“Always remember them. God gave himself to us so that we shall become better, let us give whatever we can to the less privileged.
“Inspite of the problems that amount, as much as possible, let people enjoy peace. May those who are having conflicts copy from Christ. Let us stop all the wars, there is nothing we cannot discuss.
“Let us come together. May next year see us discussing more. Let it not be a year that ASUU will introduce us another strike. We should be thinking of peace. The peace that Jesus Christ brought to the world should be lived and should be experienced. Who can do that then: human beings living on earth, Nigerians in all the corners of the country.
“let us give peace to our nation and to our selves.
“Happy Christmas to you all”.