2016 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM
THE MOST REVD. DR. E. ADEBOLA ADEMOWO, OON, FNAL,
THE DEAN EMERITUS, CHURCH OF NIGERIA
AND THE DIOCESAN BISHOP OF LAGOS
Dearly beloved children of God, our individual and corporate appreciation goes to the Almighty God for the special grace accorded us both as individuals and as a Nation under God to witness yet another Christmas Season marking the birth or the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This event occurred over two thousand years ago, at a time when the world was in great darkness and was trapped in both religious, social-political problems. It was in the midst of hopelessness and uncertainties, people then were probably expecting a sudden end and judgment but instead God visited man to give him hope and redemption. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9: 6. In today’s world, especially our Nation Nigeria, the myriad of problems and challenges are evident everywhere, ranging from neglect, suffering, poverty, diseases, robbery, kidnapping, communal clashes, religious war, political fracas, insurgency, violent and natural disasters are fast becoming part of our everyday lives.
They are the numerous challenges we battle with everyday. They are the mountains, the hurdles, we need to surmount in our national life before we can make the desired progress that we all yearn for as a country. We became more worried that a nation at 56 is yet to stand on her feet in spite of the enormous resources the Nation is blessed with. Child abuse, child trafficking, child slavery, prostitution, destitution, among others, constitute a deep sore on the soul of Nigeria which must not be allowed to fester any longer. And education is the key, at the core of this should be a commitment to funding mass education at all levels of government. In this regard, parents too should be ready to assist in mass enrolment of children in school. Where law is required to regulate this as has been done in a few states, it should be enforced. The guiding philosophy here is that if most children have the requisite education and knowledge, it would be difficult for them to fall prey to all these dehumanizing influences. This is the essence of the message of Henry Peter Brougham who noted long ago that. “Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive, easy to govern, but impossible to enslave”. We need to surmount one of the problems of our national life before we can make the desired progress that we all yearn for as a country.
The message and the lessons of Christmas must therefore be appropriated to the salvation in our land, we must see hope that Christ brought to the world and must rise together to overcome our challenges as we first set our priorities right, Christ is the reason for Christmas. Our God is still very much with us if we would draw close to Him especially at this time, as we celebrate and commemorate His birth. He alone knows those things that make for our peace.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ the peace of God will saturate every home and permeate every nooks and crannies of this country in Jesus’ Name. Merry Christmas!
The Most Revd. Dr. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, OON, FNAL
Diocesan Bishop of Lagos and Dean Emeritus
Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion