Christmas at its most authentic, must have Christ in it. Just consider EVEN the spelling of Christmas! Christ first, the rest, gifts, glamour, lights decorations, parties, etc, follow after. Christians need to realize that in today’s world there are too many people who do all in their power to downplay the name and role of Jesus Christ in the season. They try hard to put their business, their media, their program, their party, their music, their excursion and other things at the centre of the season. Every Christian must resist that attempt and keep Christ there where he belongs. I was quite surprised when, all through a local flight recently, just before Christmas period recently the air hostess avoided mentioning the name of Christ in reference to the holiday. “Happy holidays and prosperous New Year”, she said over and over again. Could Christmas be that difficult to say or that easy to forget? I challenged her about it and she was quite startled. This must necessarily be done because wherever Christ is pushed out there evil gets pushed in.

Christians have a serious task of making Christmas relevant to contemporary man, be he rich or poor, to demonstrate that without Christ, Christmas would never have taken off. He is the reason for the season. “For a son has been born for us, and dominion has been laid on his shoulder…” (Isaiah 9), whose name is Emmanuel. The word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father (Jn. 1). Those words of Scripture must be made flesh through the effort of Christians to let all the characteristics seen in Jesus Christ be manifested in their daily lives (Phil 2:5ff). Christians must also seek to focus the period on Jesus Christ at every opportunity with kindness, compassion, love and charity.

 Donald Trump, current President of the United States is to say the least, a controversial character. His actions or inactions and utterances since he came into the Oval Office often generate passionate discussion worldwide. Mr. Trump however sounded a very positive note recently, while delivering his Christmas message to America. He expressed joy that America could once more celebrate Christmas as a Christian country would. He said words similar to these: “At the end of the day the main message of Christmas is that all human beings, regardless of race, colour or religion are all children of God”. His words are valid for every country and clime. Very well said indeed, from a man of such character. Even out of the mouth of children and of babes, God can find praise to foil his enemies, to silence the foe and the rebel? (Ps. 8).

All in all this, one thing must never be forgotten. It was because God so loved the world that he sent his only son so that all might be saved. That love must show in everything that we do, namely to focus our energies, passions and resources on helping one another to get closer to God, live a life of dignity, carry the crosses we are made to bear and so on. Jesus who came to bring reconciliation and peace between God and man and among all mankind will be honoured only in that manner. How might this be done? Well, let us reach out to the poor the sick, the displaced and the oppressed around us. That is what Jesus would do as well.  Cut down on selfish pleasures and passions and together re-emphasise the Christ in Christmas. Merry Christmas to all and sundry!

-Bishop Badejo Emmanuel

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