PRESS STATEMENT: Christmas, A Season of Hope, Peace and Joy – CAN President

I rejoice with all Christians in Nigeria and of course all over the world at this season of Christmas, the season when God became man to live among us in order to redeem us from all our sins and eternal death. My prayer is that nothing would steal from your joy of this season in the name of Jesus Christ. (John 1: 14)

Let us remember that the devil is a deceiver and what we are passing through presently in Nigeria might not be what would cause us to rejoice! Of course, what we are currently passing through may not give anybody hope of tomorrow humanly speaking unless those in power are more decisive and God intervenes for us. We are experiencing insecurity everywhere, most especially, the kidnapping, wanton killings and destructions of facilities here and there by the criminals in our midst, the insurgency in the northeast, the northwest and the north central of Nigeria, just to mention a few are terrible things of great concern. They do not give us joy at all humanly speaking. However, we need to remember that part of the purposes of the birth of Jesus Christ is to give hope to the hopeless and deliver us from sin and those who hate us. He came to set the captives free.

The Bible says in 1Peter 1: 3-4 thus:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,”

Peter’s letter really was to a people who were hopeless, otherwise, he wouldn’t have attached hope in Christ to his message.

My message to all Nigerians is to remain hopeful in Christ Jesus and rejoice in hope no matter what the situation we are passing through may be. Our Father God can turn all situations around in Christ Jesus because as God, he can do all things. He is our Way-maker and he would make way for us in the name of Jesus.

I urge you to receive Jesus as the Lord over your life today, share the message of the saving power of Jesus with others who do not know him and show love in a practical way to someone around you. Let us through the love of Christ embrace one another irrespective of religious, ethnic and political differences. Let us be reconciled to God and to one another. Let all the killings, the kidnapping of our fellow brothers and sisters and all other acts of wickedness stop because God is going to judge these acts on the day of judgement.

At this season of Christmas, I plead with those at the corridor of power to use it to bring relief and joy to the citizens of this country. It is the good you have done now that people would remember tomorrow. Please, let us lessen the pains of Nigerians by paying more attention to their well-being in the prompt payment of workers salaries and pensions to the pensioners. Let all things be done to reduce the high cost of things in the market and let enabling environment be created for employment of our youths who are roaming the streets having no job.

You can also read the following related post:

I plead with all Nigerians not to let off their guards on Covid-19 protocols. The world has entered the fourth phase of the pandemic and it is spreading faster than other phases. Please, wherever you go, especially in public places such as markets and churches, wear your masks and keep all the safety protocols. 

I pray that none of us would die untimely in the mighty name of Jesus.

Once again, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a happy and very prosperous New Year 2022 in Jesus’ name.

Signed.

Rev. Dr. Samson ‘Supo Ayokunle

President, Christian Association of Nigeria &

Co-Chairman, Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC)

23 December, 2021.

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25TH DECEMBER EXISTED AS ‘CHRISTMAS’ BEFORE THE PAGAN FEAST

25TH DECEMBER EXISTED AS “CHRISTMAS”  BEFORE THE PAGAN FEAST: A correction on the misconception of Xmas, Christmas date and Christmas Traditions.

There have been write ups that suggest that the X of Xmas means “no Christ”. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG, and the source of that speculation is either woefully ignorant or maliciously disingenuous.

The X in Xmas is not the English letter X (pronounced ‘ex’), rather it is the Greek ‘Χ’. They look alike but pronounced differently. Greek X is ‘ch’ is pronounced as “k”.

In the early days of Christianity, the symbol X was used as an abbreviation for “Χριστός” (kristos) meaning Christ. And that is the style people still use today. Thus we don’t pronounce “Xtians” and “Xtopher” as “extian” or “extopher” respectively, but CHRISTians and CHRISTopher. In the same way, Xmas is pronounced “CHRISTMAS” not “exmas”.

Secondly, 25th was NEVER A DAY OF PAGAN SACRIFICE that Christians took over. Fact,  25th December was made a pagan festive day by Emperor Aurelian, who in 274 AD instituted the holiday of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. But He did so partly as an attempt to give a pagan significance to a date ALREADY IMPORTANT FOR CHRISTIANS IN ROME. In fact, by 204 AD, Hippolytus of Rome already indicated 25th December as Christmas. This could also be implied from the 221 AD writing of Sextus Julius Africanus. Moreover, there was no pagan religious celebration attached to the date  as one would expect, it was simply the date of the dedication of a temple to the sun god at Campus Martius in 274 AD.

So,  25th December as Christmas day existed at least, 50 years BEFORE the pagan feast. I repeat, 25th DECEMBER as CHRISTMAS DAY EXISTED BEFORE THE PAGAN FEAST.

25th December as CHRISTMAS DAY IS NOT IN THE BIBLE… so?

The date of Jesus birth is not recorded in the Bible, and indeed, nobody knows the exact date. But we do know that He was born on a particular day. The root of 25th December can be traced to Jewish tradition and Easter.

 It was a traditional Jewish belief that great men were born and died on the same day, so lived a whole number of years, without fractions: Jesus was therefore considered to have been CONCEIVED on March 25 (Annunciation), as he died on March 25, which was calculated to have coincided with 14 Nisan (Passover – Easter period) . This was the view of Hippolytus of Rome and Sextus Julius Africanus mentioned earlier. So since Jesus was conceived on 25th March , 9 months after, His birthday is celebrated on 25th December.

SYMBOLICALLY, December 25 was the date of the winter solstice (shortest period of daylight) in the Roman calendar. Saint Augustine explains that Jesus was born on the day which is the “shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one from where light begins to increase.”

Linking Jesus to the Sun was supported by various Biblical passages. Jesus was considered to be the “Sun of righteousness” prophesied by Malachi 4: 2- “Unto you shall the sun of righteousness arise, and healing is in his wings.”

SO WHAT IF IT WAS A PAGAN FEAST? Ask anybody on the street what 25th December means and they’ll tell you it’s Christmas day. Ask those who claim it was a pagan feast the name of the pagan god, I’m sure many won’t know it. Ask them how it was celebrated? I doubt if any can give you an answer. Even if it was a pagan feast, it is now known as the celebration of Christ’s birth, which is the most important.

But think about it, any day that walould have been attributed to Christmas will also be claimed to be a pagan feast day because everyday of the week is named after a pagan god.

Let’s share the right information and cancel out disingenuous misinformation about Christmas, Christ and Christianity.

Fr Julian Egwuatu