By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
The Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Osogbo, Most Rev. John Oyejola, has felicitated with Nigerians, Christians in particular on this year’s occasion of Christmas and urged them not to celebrate in despair despite challenges bedeviling the nation.
Bishop Oyejola, in his Christmas message made available to newsmen by the Director of Social Communication Commission of the diocese, Rev Fr Anthony Omodunbi, urged Christians not to forget safety measures of the coronavirus pandemic even as they celebrate with the hope that the world would soon overcome the scourge.
He admonished Christian families to embrace core tenets of the Christian faith, hope and love adding that they must not be afraid because “God is alive and active in our world.”
The cleric expressed worry over security challenges in the country ranging from banditry, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, violence and farmers/herds conflicts adding that these deadly activities needed to be stopped urgently by concerned authorities.
Oyejola said: “As we celebrate Christmas in the time of coronavirus, spiritual reflections call us to embrace the core tenets of the Christian faith, hope and love even as the world continues to struggle with the ongoing coronavirus with all the twists and turns the pandemic takes. We must not be afraid; God is alive and active in our world.
“For us Christians, the birth of Christ is a story of new life and with it new hope for the future glory that will be revealed when Christ comes again. Christians and all people on earth are to look up in hope, even if there are reasons to be afraid and to live in despair in our time, we must remember that in the most difficult periods in human history, Christians have always found consolation in the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ that begins with the birth of the Saviour in Bethlehem.
“Our celebrations of Christmas in churches and families this year should be joyful and grace filled, while we must not forget safety concerns and we must not overlook the measures put in place by health officials and other government agencies borne out of genuine concern to protect one another from the Coronavirus.
“Sadly, in our country Nigeria, banditry, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, violence and farmers/herds conflicts continue, destruction of the livelihoods of people with increasing numbers of refugees and migrants and killings in different parts of the country call for sober reflection and genuine strong will to put an end to these anomalies.”