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For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called: wonderful, counselor, everlasting father and prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6).
It is indeed with great delight that I write to convey my warmest greetings to all and sundry for a successful year. It is indeed by the special grace of God that we are all alive. In this season of Christmas, it is important that we quickly reflect on the meaning and essence of Christmas, discuss Christmas and the present Nigerian situation and conclude with God’s expectation from us as Christians.
Discussing the issues stated above, will in a great way justify the anchor scripture quoted above.

Meaning and essence of Christmas:
Christmas has its roots in the Christian faith and is celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ. It is believed that Jesus was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.
The celebration of Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ has its origins in the early Christian Church. The exact date of the first Christmas celebration is unclear, but it began to be widely observed in the 4th century. Pope Julius officially declared December 25th as the date of Christ’s birth in the year 336 AD. Over time, Christmas traditions and customs evolved, incorporating elements from various cultures and festivities.
Christmas is a time to come together with family and loved ones, exchange gifts, and spread joy and goodwill. It’s a celebration of love, hope, and the spirit of giving. It’s a special time of year that brings warmth and happiness to our hearts.
Christmas holds great significance for many people around the world. It’s a time to celebrate love, family, and togetherness. For Christians, it’s a celebration of the birth of Jesus, who is the Son of God and a symbol of hope and salvation. It’s a time to reflect on the values of kindness, generosity, and compassion. During Christmas, people exchange gifts as a way to show love and appreciation for one another reflecting on the life of Christ. It’s also a time for acts of kindness, such as helping those in need and spreading joy to others.
Overall, Christmas is a special occasion that brings people closer, reminds us of the importance of love and giving, and fills our hearts with joy and warmth.
Therefore, outside Christ, Christmas is useless. Hence everybody who celebrates Christmas must first accept the Christ of the mas into his life to make his show of love valuable before God.
Christmas and our Present Nigerian Situation:
It is important to note that today in Nigeria, many people including some of our leaders, have made Christmas to loose it’s value.
Today, when we talk of Christmas, we talk of increase in goods and services. We talk of high rate of crime and killings. During Christmas, we see all sorts of wickedness all in the bid to make money at all cost. We must note that when we do all these, we are sincerely abusing the essence of Christmas.
The present state of killings, kidnapping and banditry in our country calls for sincere prayers. The present price of fuel, rice, general transportation and cost of living makes it difficult for people in Nigeria to show love in a time like this. I therefore call on Christians to show love and eschew all form of violence as we celebrate Christ who is the Prince of Peace.
The expectation of God from Christians
Let me categorically state that the presence of darkness suggest the need for light in our society. We need Christians to awake and shine in a time like this. We need the church of God to become the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We need Christians to respond the earnest groaning of the creation for the manifestation of sons of God.
We need to set the pace for others to follow. To my beloved friends in the faith I ask, how many widows and orphans have you been able to reach out to this Christmas? How many children who are drop out have you been able to give scholarship? How many communities have you been able to reach out to with basic infrastructural facilities? It is indeed the time for us to arise and shine for darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people (Isaiah 60:1). Let me remind us that if we decide to be silent at this very critical time, God can still send help from another source.
My prayer for all:
It is my prayer that as we take up this challenge of showing the love of Christ to our world, that God will give us grace beyond measure. It is my prayer that in this season of insecurity that God will be our security. It is our prayer that the Lord Almighty will supply our needs according to His riches in glory.
May the joy of the Lord remain our strength now and forevermore.
Yours in His Vineyard,

Most Revd. Dr. Chibuzo Raphael Opoko, TFSG, DOB, JP, is the Bishop of Methodist Church Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria.

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