Joy in a troubled world at Christmas | The Guardian Nigeria News

The first Christmas marked the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The stage was set in Bethlehem, a small town in Judea. The cast included Joseph, Mary, shepherds and angels. The Baby Jesus is at the center of Christmas. The Christmas message is one of joy and peace. This was the heavenly message brought by the multitude of angels who appeared in heaven and overwhelmed the shepherds in the fields.

The angel’s message was clear: “Glory to God in the highest heavens and peace on earth, good will towards men! Luke 2:14. It was the message from heaven that marked the first Christmas. Any other problem, concern, expectation, desire or desire that is not in tandem with this everlasting message is not for Christmas. Any desire not oriented towards the glory of God and in turn the promotion of peace and goodwill towards men on earth contradicts the spirit and purpose of Christmas.

Given the turmoil in the world, many may lose faith in Christmas. The atrocities we see today are not new. From the time of Adam in the Garden of Eden which God himself planted, mankind has witnessed blood. Cain committed the most atrocious murder by killing his brother Abel. The Holy Scriptures are full of stories of wars involving mass killings. The desperate wickedness of man, which manifests itself in all forms of atrocious acts, existed centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.

The birth of Jesus took place at a time when the Jewish nation was colonized by the Romans. In this scenario, there was mass discontent against the colonial Roman powers. There were leftist agitators. The Zealots were one of the radical political movements which constantly incited the people to rebel against the Roman authorities and to expel them from the Holy Land by force of arms.

The Maccabees were another group of the Jewish rebel army that took control of Judea from the colonial Greek Seleucid Empire. They established the Hasmonean dynasty by force and ruled from 164 to 63 BC. They reaffirmed the Jewish religion by forced conversion and widened the borders of Judea by conquest. If the Zealots and Maccabees were active today, they would have been labeled as “terrorists”. There has been a time since Adam that the world had peace. Most of human history is marked by indescribable turmoil, massacres, atrocities and bloodshed.

Caesar Augustus’ order (Luke 2: 1) for a census of the whole world was not a friendly peaceful order. The story goes that Augustus Caesar was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first emperor. As a military dictator, whose concern was the expansion of the Roman Empire, the census order was more of a political strategy to have accurate data on his subjects for the purposes of taxation and military service. These were the same Roman authorities who ruled the Jews at the time that the Zealots were fighting against. There was no peace in the country at the time.

The message of peace proclaimed by the angels presupposed that there was conflict. Peace is the only value that can be given to a turbulent situation. When Jesus said “Peace, be quiet” to the storm that was raging at sea, his disciples faced danger. In a state of war, all the belligerents need is peace. Christ is the Prince of Peace. Despite the turmoil in the world, Christ remains Christ. The coming of Christ is not based on human circumstances, but human circumstances are based on Christ. The coming of Christ changed the human calendar as we know it today.

If your expectations don’t match the central theme of Christmas, which is joy, peace, and caring, you should back down and have the right spirit. Remember that Christmas has no end. As long as the earth remains with human beings, there will be the feast of Christmas. In twelve months there will be another Christmas. So no one should kill themselves because of Christmas this year. Relax; take it easy. Thank God especially that you are alive to celebrate another Christmas. It is the most beautiful gift.

One of the main characteristics of Christmas is the massive movement of people from one place to another. There are international trips across continents, regions and countries. In addition to that, there are domestic travel within the country. In Nigeria, for example, the traditional movement at this time was from the west to the eastern states, then north to the southern states. There is this rushed air, hurry up, hurry up! Many people seem to be in a hurry to reach their destination, to achieve certain goals / objectives before the end of the year. The Christmas event, which occurs on December 25, just six days before the end of the year, accentuates this precipitation.

In a way, some people have a false sense of failure if the goals set are not met, as if there isn’t another Christmas. But it is fallacious. There is no particular Christmas that marks the end of Christmas, of opportunities, expectations and goals. After Christmas comes the New Year which opens up a whole new world of opportunity. Those who lost their lives in the Christmas “rush” never get the chance to celebrate another Christmas again.

I’m a little hesitant to bring up “rush” at Christmas because there was nothing in the first Christmas that suggested “rush”, in particular, for mundane things. The duo of Joseph and Mary, on their way to Bethlehem to enroll in a census ordered by Caesar Augustus, traveled on a slowly walking donkey. The shepherds were in the field guarding their flocks at night in a serene atmosphere when the multitude of angels appeared with the Christmas message. It was not until after the angels returned to heaven that the Bible says that the shepherds “hastened” to Bethlehem to confirm what the angels had said. This rush was aimed at meeting the baby Jesus in the manger and not for material ends. I insisted on the issue of the Christmas rush because it is the cause of many road deaths in Nigeria during this season. The high rate of road accidents which has become another nightmare in Nigeria worsens over Christmas. It’s very sad.

It is important to point out that the way Christmas is celebrated in Nigeria is different from the way it is celebrated in other climates. In the western world, for example, the prices of goods are apparently reduced to make things affordable for everyone. The stores open the Christmas sales where every imaginable item is sold at a rock bottom price. This culture promotes and brings joy to millions of people on Christmas.

But here in Nigeria, the stakes are high. Once on December 1, the prices of every item in the market skyrocket beyond measure. Everything from food, clothing, shoes, household utensils, etc., is seeing its prices rise. Many businessmen store goods for sale at Christmas, because that is when they make very high profits. The price increase is also extended to transport tariffs. Travelers pay through the nose. Criminals have a blast on Christmas. This culture of profit during Christmas negates the spirit and purpose of the historic event. Rather than promoting joy, millions of our hungry citizens are grieved on Christmas. Joy is denied to them by circumstances beyond their control.

As many embark on travel, partying, eating and drinking, no one should forget the central Christmas message, which is joy for the world and peace for people of good will. While joy is in the whole world, peace is only for the men and women who have good will towards others. The only way to participate in this peace is to avoid bitterness, resentment and acrimony. To the tension that envelops Nigerian politics, we say peace. May peace and joy reign in the hearts of all men as a prelude to peace in the land. The gift of Christmas, which is Christ, is love. Its message is joy – joy that goes beyond understanding.

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