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This can’t be in Jesus name!

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Like it did last year, the Christmas season began in this village immediately the calendar read 1st December 2019. Photo: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

In the name of the Almighty, the Beneficent the Merciful

“The similitude of Jesus before the Almighty is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”. And he was. (Quran 3:59)

Thus the season began. Like it did last year, the Christmas season began in this village immediately the calendar read 1st December 2019. It began with my Christian compatriots feeling justifiably excited and happy that they were and are alive to witness the occasion. There was no waiting for the d-day- the 25th of December, the day Christendom usually celebrate the birth of Prophet Isa – Jesus Christ. (alayhi salam). As soon as the month of November comes to an end the Christmas season, for the majority, begins.

Thus a group of “guys” and “babes” thought of beginning the celebration with an all-night party. They were those who usually identify with the emblematic portents of Christmas, not its deeper meaning and essence. They decided to meet where they usually meet. They met in one of the best hotels in the city. The hotel is located in that part of the city, which is inhabited by the rich and the privileged in society. The boys and girls, all in the prime of their youth, met to enjoy themselves; to drink, dance and have fun. They gathered in the hotel late in the night and indulged in all kinds of fun most of which their forebears would never have imagined.

But since gatherings such as the one mentioned above can only take place in the dead of the night, and at a time when those who know the Almighty would be busy humiliating themselves in His presence, partly out of fear for his punishment and partly out of desire for His favours, it followed that the party must be terminated while darkness still pervaded the horizon. In Adab al-Din Wa al-Dunya (The Ethics of Religion and Earthly Life) written by the medieval legist and philosopher, al-Mawardi, Prophet Isa (Jesus Christ) was reported to have been asked: why is it that some men love going out under darkness? He responded saying: “because of the evil effects of their actions”!

Thus the partying friends left the hotel around three in the morning. They drove in a Toyota Camry car. They had one of them, perhaps the most inebriated and intoxicated, take charge of the wheel. He got off on to the road as if he had a death-wish. His friends could not have demanded caution and circumspection in the way and manner he was driving the car. They were all drunk and intoxicated from the excesses of the opportunities life had thrown on their laps. They were beside themselves as a result of their failure to realize that the distance between life and death is as far as that between one side of a coin and the other.

Thus the ‘guy’ pressed the pedal with such force that would make an experienced pilot of Boeing747 wink with envy. By the time they got to a roundabout, the car had gone beyond control. He consequently drove it atop the road-divider. Tragedy consequently occurred. The car somersaulted several times and came to a halt when it hit another car, which was coming from the opposite direction.

Thus the city woke up last weekend to mourn their death. It also mourned the death of the innocent road-user whose car was hit by the Toyota Camry, which was driven by the “boys”. There was no way the ‘guys’ could have been counseled anymore. All advise to the dead becomes infantile and puerile as soon as he takes his ‘portion’!

It, therefore, stands to reason to say that all celebrations of Christmas that would lead to the desecration of the sacred are invalid. Here the sacred references not only human life but also such other values upon which human prosperity is hinged. It would, therefore, be against what Prophet Isa (A.S) stands for my compatriots who identify with Christianity to indulge in the consumption of intoxicants which have the potentials of leading to accidents and consequent loss of life. It would be antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ for you to use the occasion of his birthday to engage in immorality and sexual perversion. I thought it would be against the very essence of Christmas for those who stand in the cathedral in his name to deliver messages that would lead to the prosperity of the leader to the exclusion of the led.

Brethren, it is my candid opinion that he is not a true follower of Jesus- he who engages in kidnappings and extortion of money from the mass of Nigerians who are struggling to make ends meet? Would it not amount to an insult of the divine for, in this instance, my Christian compatriots whose source of wealth was from the unlawful – from embezzlement of government’s money or from a contract he willfully refused to execute after collecting all monies appropriated for same – to go to church on the day of Christmas and give offerings? Would it not be antithetical to the very spirit of this season for my compatriot-landlord to use this occasion to increase rent even as he knows that the ordinary Nigerian worker is still steeped in the abyss of poverty and penury?

Brethren, I thought the onset of Christmas should function in forging a nexus between what Christians claim to believe in and their existential realities. It should be an occasion, which should be explored by all to promote better rapprochement between and among all religious identities in this country. It should be an event, which should be explored by our Christian compatriots to ask a very simple question: Should Jesus Christ emerge today would he be happy to meet you on this podium, in this situation, and in this vocation?

Oladosu is a Professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan.


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