It is still Christmas – Vanguard
Merriment and excessiveness have drowned the essence of Christmas. The way of celebrating Jesus Christ, who came to save mankind, according to the bible, turns the reason for the season upside down.
Nigerians dedicate December to celebrations. The noise envelops the message of the season - God's abiding love for mankind, manifested in sending His Son to die for a world that celebrates injustices.
Thoughts of God's love are hardly part of this season of excesses. The worldly celebrations of Christmas are steadily eroding its religious content. Frauds, greed, selfishness, drunkenness, immorality have been elevated to the reason for the season.
More pains are inflicted on people through Christmas - the road accidents, the broken hearts, the split family and national resources that are wasted in promoting an affair that started in the poorest parts of Bethlehem, in a manger.
Jesus Christ was born in dreary surroundings with animals. His poor parents could not afford a better place in a crowded city bustling with its people, who had returned to be counted in a census.
Nigerians ignore poverty this season. They go to great lengths, against any economic logic, to acquire new cars, new clothes, bigger country homes (that would be the abode of rodents after the festivities). These achievements are announced noisily for effect. The ordinary people look on in wonder. Is this Christmas?
The rich and mighty would send Christmas messages to themselves. Our leaders would regurgitate the message of Christmas without paying workers' salaries. Some pensioners - old people who have given their youth to this country - missed making it to this Christmas; they died queueing for their pittance. They hardly get paid.
Christmas presents a great opportunity to explore and imitate God's unfailing love. We should think about those our national policies hurt the most. Jesus Christ, who we are celebrating, cared for the poor all the days of his life.
It was not a show He put on and off at certain times of the year. Caring for the needy, the challenged, the disadvantaged, the poor, the weak, the sick, the oppressed, the widows, the orphans is not about photo opportunities. It is a life long commitment that should endure after the season.
Please spare a thought for the ordinary Nigerian beyond the season. Life is getting tougher by the day. Ordinary Nigerians watch as opportunities elude them due to the selfishness of those who want everything - including what they do not need - for themselves.
This definitely is not the spirit of the season. As you celebrate, do something to spread the joy, in the knowledge that your kindness could be all the Christmas someone else would know.
Merry Christmas Nigerians!