The Christmas season was upon us for weeks running before this unique day (today) that celebrates globally the celestial birthday of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ of Nazareth! As we (mostly Christians) mark the day with ecclesiastical reminiscence of His coming, miraculous deeds and excruciating crucifixion on the cross there is a compelling need to be merry. The glorious birth of enfant Jesus in the manger in the little town of Bethlehem some two thousand years ago marked the beginning of a promise of blood sacrifice by the Supreme Being for the remission of sins. With the payment of the supreme price in Golgotha the cycle of atonement of sins could be said to be complete!
Mankind, prior to His coming, in flesh and blood, was under the yoke of the original Adamic sin. Satan was ostensibly rejoicing over the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden — something he craftily engineered! But his wicked joy was cut short by the mission of Christ to save humanity from itself. And that mission of salvation was audaciously a resounding success from all spiritual and physical indications. Since His glorious exit from this huge beautiful garden (earth) man has found his voice and strength to confront the devil through intensive prayer, fasting and miracles. On more than one occasion we have succeeded in praying the devil into oblivion or shaking his dark kingdom by the propagation of the word and power of Jesus. Of course Jesus still heals; He still delivers and answers prayers!
Yuletide is, therefore, an occasion of blissful remembrance of the love of God for us as demonstrated by His decision to send his only begotten Son to come down and break the chain of satanic oppression and hopelessness for man and his kind. In fulfillment of the divine promise Jesus was delivered unto us by Mary and Joseph through immaculate conception! Delivering the tot Jesus in the decrepit house of domestic animals is instructive here. It bore the hallmark of simplicity and classlessness which today’s world frowns at. The root of all evil that (nonetheless) answers all things (money) has almost destroyed the sanctity of creation as we knew it. Today we hear of homosexualism, terrorism, ritualism and occultism but in Trinity we proudly believe!
For the devil and his dark angels money and women are two crucial elements used to try to win the daily deadly war against righteousness and Christianism. With money and women our weaknesses as Homo sapiens are constantly revealed in full. And the beast in some of us find common expression by our attitude and relationship with one another. The parable of the rich fool as explained in the Holy Book explicitly tells us how difficult it could be for the rich to access heaven given the abiding power of lucre and love of same. Cupidity has turned our beautiful planet into a killing field where the struggle for power and worldly possessions rage from one continent to another, one country to another.
Yet it must be proclaimed loud and clear on this auspicious occasion that God has not given us the spirit of fear but of love, of power and of sound mind! With love, power and sound mind we can climb the highest mountains and be assured of our definite victory against the forces of darkness and principalities. While light shines upon us as the children of the living God illuminating our world in the constant struggle against unrighteousness the satanic enclave is being depleted as the (wo)men of God and other followers of Christ wage the battle of good against evil — sometimes in the open. Daily, if not hourly, this war of attrition produces victims and victors!
The devil knows that he can never win the battle but he tries to hoodwink people into believing in his fetish powers and doubting the supreme power of the Supreme Immortal Being. Darkness has never prevailed over light and any time it does then Armageddon, in its negative permissive context, must have happened. The world is irreconcilably divided over faith and doctrines of Christianism. Yet the truth remains self-evident that there is only one God overseeing the affairs of men and intervening supernaturally sometimes if only to prove His dominance over us and our sinful environment. And remind Satan of who the Master is!
The sons and daughters of Eve around the world professing Christ use the established white and red colours of Yuletide to welcome the coming of the celestial son of promise and redemption. With the birth of Christ hope was restored to man and his baggage of sin. With His coming the divine prophecy of redemption was fulfilled. With His physical manifestation God Himself manifested! Those that saw Him at work testified to His great sense of justice, fairness and independence. Even the devil himself tried to extinguish the fire of power possessed by the Son of Man by tempting Him after enduring forty days and forty nights of praying and fasting in the wilderness but failed!
While the level of understanding of things divine has soared over generations we are still confronted by the temptations and human frailties which the flesh could find irresistible. The attempt by some men to play God or even play Christ-like resurrection has failed overtime manifesting certain frustration in their quarters. But man cannot stop to question the prerogative powers of He that assured creation through the spoken word. The word was in the beginning, the Bible tells us. And that word was with Him and that word was Him! Any doubt about His worldly sovereignty ought to dissipate as we contemplate death and reproduction.
The greatest man ever to have walked and worked among the living in this planet deserves the glorification that comes with His birthday. We bow and tremble before Him and Him alone! As we remember the great miracles that happened during his glorious sojourn in our world (the raising of the dead Lazarus from the grave, the turning of water into wine, the feeding of the multitude by multiplying few loaves of bread and fishes, the restoration of the sight of the blind etc) we cannot but magnify His name as our Lord and Saviour.
Today in Christendom some religious groups (notably the Jehovah’s Witnesses) contest the exact date of Jesus’ birth. They argue that it cannot be” December 25 given the meteorological circumstances of December and the link with the Roman pagan feast. But such argument is not important, in our reckoning, because majority across the world just want to celebrate the enfant Christ the exact date of birth notwithstanding. No one knows with exactitude the date Jesus was born! We hold, however, that the Christian world is united on this date for the commemoration of the birthday of He that changed the course of history in our difficult relationship with our Creator. Man is a very difficult omnivorous animal to control! Among the living things created by the Most High only man has manifested signs of rebellion, of disobedience and open hatred against-his neighbour.
Decades ago as a little boy in the village somewhere in downtown Ihiala (Biafraland) I remember with nostalgia how we waited for the arrival of every Xmas when Nigeria was still a good place to live in. We would be praying and playing pranks synonymous with Noel. We would be waiting for new clothes, new shoes, rice and chicken and coca-cola. And on the D-day decked in our new immaculate clothes we would be perambulating excitedly and visiting homes of our mentors, in our infantile innocence, for food and money. Later in the evening hours we would all assemble in the village square where masquerades would entertain us. During the Yuletide season social events like weddings, coronations, music launch, new dance presentation, child dedications, new house opening ceremonies are common. Villages in the Igbo-speaking areas are a beehive of activities! Christmas festivities bring Igbo sons and daughters home from all walks of life.
The Yuletide we knew and celebrated at childhood had since been replaced with another one with new definition and new theological philosophy. Satanic verses are now being recklessly disseminated via the Internet by terrorists. Messages of hate and intolerance are being propounded by followers of Satan. Our children are being indoctrinated; the new generation are faced with stark choices: to kill in the name of an invisible Allah and go to heaven as martyr or live in this world buffeted with daily temptations of moral debauchery or cupidity.
The mercantilism associated with Noel ought to be deplored. Now, rather than a solemn celebration that calls for some sober reflection and charity towards the needy what we have is lucrative Xmas business, conspicuous consumption and greed. You see some unscrupulous businessmen or traders doing brisk business in the name of the Yuletide. You see some morally-bankrupt elements making a hell of money by commercializing the birthday of the Lord. You see and meet some misguided fellows drinking themselves to a state of stupor and others even making love — all in the name of marking a unique birthday of the Great One. Many had lost lives and limbs in the scramble for Xmas! Others had ended up in jail for over-celebrating same. Armed robbers and prostitutes use the same season to make illicit money. And transporters see the annual event as a season for self-aggrandizement.
In Germany recently a terrorist hired a heavy-duty truck and drove it into the crowd shopping in the open Xmas market in Berlin! Up to a dozen folks were killed and scores wounded in that horrible exhibition of devilish possession. Before Berlin it was Nice in France that witnessed such gory descent to the anarchy of terrorism. What, if not madness occasioned by dogmatic indoctrination, could have pushed a young man in his early twenties to want to commit such horror in broad daylight? Whatever happened to the sixth Commandment? Whatever happened to the spirit of brotherhood? With terrorism expanding its tentacles and scope we are all endangered species!
In Nigeria recently about 2.5 tonnes of the so-called “plastic tomato rice” was confiscated by the customs in Lagos. The toxic rice were smuggled into Nigeria from a neighbouring country since rice importation remains banned in Nigeria. Rice is a staple food and it is in our character and tradition to give out bags of rice as a gift during the Christmas period. If the eagle-eyed customs men had not seized the killer rice then one imagines how many people they would have killed! Like fake drugs Nigeria is killing her citizens because of money. Very few among us have conscience; majority can do anything to make money and escape the poverty circle of doom! In a nation where money is about everything (worshipped) and criminals (like the recently-freed James Ibori) hailed as heroes no one should wonder how and why we are sinking deeper and deeper into decadence.
As we wine and dine in the spirit of the Yuletide we must endeavour to remember the ultimate sacrifice whose beginning we are celebrating. Above all, the unique reason for the unique season ought not be forgotten in our collective revelry and consciousness. Jesus the Christ remains the unique reason for the unique season! Merry Xmas to every (wo)man of goodwill! With the blood of Jesus we wear the triumphant armor of love and conquest. Compliments of the season, once again!