The Christian Association of Nigeria on Friday congratulated the country on the birth of Jesus Christ, but regretted that it was being celebrated amid uncertainty, fear and untold suffering.
The organization, however, expressed optimism that God would not abandon the nation but would continue to intervene in the affairs of humanity.
The President of CAN, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, stated this in his Christmas message to Nigerians obtained by journalists in Abuja, “Christmas: Be hopeful, God has not abandoned Nigeria”.
He said: “Another season of Christmas is here again. It is the time of the year when Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the living Son of God. As people who believe in Him, we remember God’s unfailing and never-ending love for us. Christmas stories about God’s helplessness and hopelessness He tells us about the loving intervention he has made in the human condition.
“Jesus is the promised Messiah, who fulfills God’s promise of eternal salvation and deliverance to his people, at a time when they were rejected, exploited and oppressed by selfish and corrupt leaders (Isaiah 11:6-10). In this context the significance and importance of the birth of Christ remains bright for us as a people and a nation as we await the arrival of a new leadership ordained by God to restore the fortunes of our people and ensure peace. , justice and righteousness on earth.
“This year we are celebrating Christmas in Nigeria amid uncertainty, fear, suffering, hardship and pain, in the face of a struggling economy, record inflation, worsening poverty and a weakened security system due to bad governance.
“This precarious state of our national life can be compared to the suffering, helplessness and hopelessness of the Israelites, who have become gods of greed, selfishness and corruption as a result of their leaders’ decisions to forsake God and follow their own bellies.
“However, the message of Christmas informs us that God will not abandon us, but will continue to intervene in human affairs through Jesus Christ, the Messiah sent to save the world. We should resist the temptation to speak the language of despair and division over our lives and our nation.
“May the story of Christmas inspire our neighbors to speak the language of peace regardless of religious, ethnic or political differences.
“Our political leaders, especially those who are fighting for the chance to lead our country out of the woods in 2023, should use this Christmas season to reflect on the words of the newborn Messiah, who when the time came to inaugurate his rescue mission to the world, to announce good news to the poor, release the captives and He expressed his awareness that he was anointed to restore sight to the blind, set the oppressed free and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Lk 4: 18-19).
“They should be ready to ensure justice by insisting on equitable sharing of government resources and positions among people of all regions and tribes. Equitable distribution of positions will help us harness the abundant potential of our beloved country for national development.
“As we prepare to elect a new set of federal and state leaders in the first quarter of 2023, Christmas is a reminder that God has not forsaken us. Therefore, we should pray to God to open our eyes to recognize and vote for those who will rule the nation with godly fear and devotion. .
“Let those who compete for the elections realize that the upcoming elections are not a matter of life or death; on the contrary, it is God who gives power to whom He wills. They will have to reject violent behavior and start the path of honor and peace in the campaign for votes.
“We must not allow the fear of insecurity and violence to stay away from the votes in the 2023 general elections. Let us remember that the spirit we have received from God through the coming of Christ to the world is not one of fear, but of power, love and a strong mind (2 Tim 1:7). Religious leaders and politicians and the media should use this Christmas season to strengthen the hope of the masses for a better, more peaceful and secure Nigeria in 2023.
“May the Christmas season be a time to strengthen ourselves and others; reminding each other that there is no difficult situation that cannot be resolved by the presence of Jesus; giving hope to the hopeless; comforting the downtrodden and being the voice of the voiceless.
“The prophecies of our Lord’s birth assure us of his abiding presence that delivers us from all our troubles and will surely restore the dignity and joy of our beloved country, Nigeria. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in advance!”