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By NBF News
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National president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has urged Nigerians and others to see Christmas as a time for reflection, reconciliation and sharing with everybody.

In a statement released ahead of Christmas, he said: 'Christmas is one of the most important celebrations in the Christian calendar and it has been that way as long as we can remember. The truth is that without a true understanding of the message of salvation, you cannot celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who brought us salvation to set us free from sin, Satan and ourselves.'

The Christian body said that Christmas 'is an incredible time and season for all of us. But far beyond that, Christmas is a season of love and giving; for the Holy Bible says: 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.'

It urged Nigerians to demonstrate 'love for God by also giving to the underprivileged among us, to those who probably don't have the kind of opportunity that we have.'

The CAN president said also urged Christians to 'give your time; share your love with people who are hungry for love. There is so much to give because God gave us everything that we have; so that we can also give out to those who do not have.'

For Nigeria, as a nation, he said that Christmas should be seen as 'a time for us to reflect on ourselves,' adding: 'As Christians, we must appreciate the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for our salvation, and asking ourselves if truly we are in good standing with the one whose birth we are celebrating today.

'We must ask ourselves if we are really living for Him, and how our lives are affecting the well-being of this nation.'

Oritsejafor said: 'Nigeria needs genuine Christians; not religious people. It is, therefore, a moment of reflection and to reach out to our neighbours notwithstanding what they are worshipping or their religion. Show this love that God gave us.'

He also said: 'Christmas is a time for reconciliation, a time for Nigerians to put aside their differences, a time for those who are violent to put their violence aside and let peace reign because Jesus died a violent death so that we will live a peaceful life.'