By Rev. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, the CAN President.
On behalf of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), I rejoice with all Nigerians in general and every Christian family in particular as we celebrate another Christmas in the land of the living and I pray that the joy associated with the season will be your portion in Jesus Name.
To us, the joy of Christmas is not limited to His unprecedented and miraculous birth. It is built even more on the triumph of His death and resurrection that gave meaning to His birth because it was His resurrection that gave us hope against every hopeless situation.
I am not unaware of the hardship Nigerians are facing today as many could not travel for the Christmas celebration despite the holiday due to the fuel scarcity, unpaid salaries and other economic factors.
But the major theme of the Christmas remains FEAR NOT. No matter what we are seeing or hearing. That was what the angel who broke the Good News told the shepherds.
“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:9-12 KJV ).
During the week, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that due to the harsh economic situation currently facing our nation, not fewer than 3.67 million Nigerians lost their jobs last year alone. They are still working on the figure for the outgoing year.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s verdict on Nigeria was also as hopeless as that of the NBS if not more but our eyes are not on the government but on God who always fulfils His promises no matter the circumstances.
Not a few of our youths lost their precious lives on the Mediterranean and in the modern day slavery in Libya in their futile attempt to escape the economic hardship in the country.
My counsel to all Nigerians is, in the words of Apostle Paul, to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Our God is able, capable and reliable in all situations.
We identify with homes that are mourning as a result of the incessant attacks from the criminal Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, ritualists and armed robbers who are on the loose as we pray to God to console and comfort all the bereaved and we also pray for our leaders and all the security agencies to wake up from their slumber to their responsibilities before the situation get out of hands.
As you celebrate, always remember that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;” (Psalm 46:1&2).
It is our hope that year 2018 will be a year of recovery to our losses, healing to our wounds and a season of unprecedented expansion of His Kingdom here on earth.
May the melody and spirit of the season fill your home with love and peace. I wish you all the best and a prosperous Happy New Year.