The Christmas Message of the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson ‘Supo Ayokunle.
Another Christmas is here when we celebrate the birth of the Messiah, the best gift from God. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” It is the celebration of Immanuel, God who is with us. Christmas is also the celebration of the Word that “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). His birth was a sign from God. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
On behalf of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), I wish all Christians a merry Christmas. It is my prayer that your joy will be full and your desires met in the name of Jesus. I am aware that we are in a hard time. Rice is not available and where it is, it is not within the reach of common people because of its price. It is a passing phase and very soon, the God who ended the unprecedented economic depression in Samaria will surely give us victory over our challenges.
We are all happy for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ today for coming to the world for our redemption, but that did not come without a sacrifice of love from our Father God, from our Lord Jesus Christ and from Mary and Joseph. They all paid the sacrifices for the joy of the rest of us.
I want every Nigerian to know that our present challenges will be the springboard for our full joy of Christmas. The first Christmas was also full of pains and sacrifices or challenges before the Saviour was born. God the Father had to part with His Son by sending Him to us for our redemption. The Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ had to humble Himself by putting on the flesh, allowing Himself to be conceived by ordinary mortal, a virgin called Mary for nine months. He walked on the streets and experienced human limitations. For example, He became hungry like us, suffered pain and received insults from humans, just like us.
Furthermore, Mary herself bore the ridicule of a conception that she was chosen to carry and had to accept it because it was beyond her control. She must have received knocks from the ignorant many, who thought they knew more than her, but in truth didn’t understand the divine action in her life. She bore the pain of pregnancy for nine months.
We need to remember our hero, Joseph, who was first disappointed in Mary (his fiancée), when he saw her pregnant thinking she committed fornication. He was told to take this pregnant lady to himself and take care of her and the baby to be born, and he did so. That was not easy at all. Besides, he was told never to touch Mary who was now living with him, until she delivered the baby. How many men can withstand that temptation? What of the pain of taking the child and the baby to Egypt in order to escape from Herod’s sword? He provided food for the baby and the mother.
However, when the baby was delivered, joy came. The baby’s fame, which also gave the parents recognition in human history, cannot be compared to the pains they bore. Whatever challenges you are passing through now will not prevent your joy of Christmas. Whatever Nigerians are experiencing now will lead to the joy of the future. Psalm 39: 5 says, ‘weeping may endure till night, but joy comes in the morning.’
Joy will come your way this Christmas by God’s Hand of miracle. Nigerians and Nigeria will come out of the challenges to experience enduring joy and happiness in the name of Jesus. The present challenges and pains Nigerians are experiencing will later end in joy in Jesus’ name. Tough times never last but tough people do. God is aware of our pains and is doing something about it. Joy shall come in the morning for us in the name of Jesus.
Remember the Lord who is the source of everything good in your life. Give him praise, give him honour and use your resources as well to appreciate him.
Christmas is a season of joy and happiness, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but things are pretty difficult people are experiencing lean times; untold hardship in many countries including Nigeria. My prayers for all the families including divine provision as He promises us in His Word (Philippians 4:19). Do not engage in any crime or criminality in order to celebrate the Christmas. But instead, look up to God and you will not be disappointed. I urge governments at all levels to look for ways of cushioning the effects of the economic hardships in the land. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Nigerian Baptist Convention, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle.
24 December, 2019