There is need to build an ethic of human solidarity aimed at promoting the common good
More than 2000 years ago, when peaceful silence lay over the face of the earth, and the night had run half of her swift course, Jesus Christ was born in a place where animals were kept in Bethlehem, a comparatively insignificant and humble city. That birth, which is being marked today in Christendom, as well as the Mission of Salvation connected with it, was at once a promise of redemption from spiritual death, a declaration of an end to the reign of darkness and a call to mankind to embrace the Light of God. That is why we rejoice with all Christians as they mark this holy season.
However, on a day such as this, we can easily get caught in the merriment that could make us miss the essence of the occasion and that will be tragic. Christ, after whom Christians ought to model themselves and the reason for the season, was selfless throughout his earthly sojourn. As the incarnate Love of God, he personified humility, service to others and other virtues that are in short supply in the world we live in today. Christmas is therefore a period for many Christians to ask themselves whether they can be truly numbered among followers of Christ, based on the true desires of their hearts and the motives behind most of their actions.
Whereas it is true that Christ came because of men, and also died for the redemption of their sins, the Christian condition for salvation rests on the understanding that the Mission and the crucifixion would have been totally unnecessary if men had not sinned and gone astray in the first place. Christmas therefore gives the believer a unique opportunity to re-examine themselves.
Christmas is significant because it speaks to God’s redemption, mercy and grace offered to mankind by the Lord Jesus Christ. As St. Augustine explains, “Everyone can make the sign of the cross of Christ; everyone can answer, Amen; everyone can sing Alleluia; everyone can have himself baptised, can enter churches, can build the walls of basilicas. But charity is the only thing by which the children of God can be differentiated from the children of the devil” and that happens to be what Christmas is all about: The unconditional love that ultimately led to the sacrifice of the cross.
To live the true essence of the season, it is important for all Nigerians to eschew hatred, rancour, greed and avarice. We must build an ethic of human solidarity aimed at promoting the common good and the welfare of fellow men and women, especially in this most difficult period. Aside the frustration and poverty that pervade the landscape, many Nigerians will be celebrating Christmas on the fuel queues that have resurfaced in recent weeks.
That is why, beyond the decoration of streets and houses with special festoons and rosettes, exchange of sanctimonious Christmas gifts and singing of carols, this Christmas should serve as a moment for deep reflection by asking the hard question: How can we (both as individuals and collectives) make a difference within our different communities and the nation at large?
Meanwhile, Christmas underlines the importance of the family, affording wives, husbands and children the opportunity to reunite, deepen their faith and share the warmth that comes from true spiritual empathy. But above all, we must remember that with Christmas comes the good tiding of peace. To that extent, people in authorities should strive to bring light to the dark land, hope to the hopeless, justice to the oppressed, and integrity to the wasteland.
As we therefore reflect on the true significance of Christmas, all Nigerians must resolve to become better citizens.
We wish our readers Merry Christmas!