Christmas compels us to love
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died,” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Indeed, Christmas time, anytime, any day, is a happy and joyous occasion. Therefore, as we witness another round of Christmas celebration this year, may we give thanks to God Almighty for keeping us alive to be part of this great joy. The Bible was right when it says, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16). This type of love is overwhelming and every child of God should find a way of sharing it with others. Please, nothing should inhibit us from expressing it.
Notice, St. Paul while addressing the Corinthian brethren wished that they honour God in everything they did. His idea about the love of God was that it should compel believers to do the needful to one another and to those around them. He was aware that sometimes people suffer silently and would not share what they are going through with others. For in the household of God, we have scores of widows, less privileged, afflicted, oppressed and hopeless, among others. Because of this situation, it is in the mind of Apostle Paul to re-awaken the conscience of believers and through it enable them to see the need to give a helping hand to those in need. I believe, true Christianity must have practical demonstration as people must live out what they preach. Thank God, this occasion of Christmas will afford us that opportunity to put our preaching into practise for we have the poor and needy in our midst waiting to be touched.
Therefore, Paul’s concern for the Corinthian brethren is also relevant for us at this Christmas season. It is no longer news that the economic recession that suddenly swooped on the citizens has done more harm than good. For example, the United Nations estimation of people living in Africa including Nigeria is that they live on two dollar per day. The implication being that many are living in critical conditions and they need help if they must survive. To make matter worse, at this Christmas season prices of goods have soared high including that of rice and many are no longer sure of the next meal. This is where this message becomes very essential and that is, that those who are well to do should allow the love of God to compel them to attend to the needs of the less fortunate ones in our midst as they celebrate the yuletide. There is need to look, listen and care.
Indeed, Christmas should be a time of sharing and showing love as this is in tandem with the word of God. We can hear Jesus saying to someone at this season: “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matt. 25:35-40). Therefore, we call on all God’s children not to neglect those in need as Jesus is waiting and watching to see what we can do in assisting the needy around us.
Yes, we must look for an opening to touch lives whether in the rural or in the urban as God expects us to reach out no matter the cost. Therefore, if we express our love by giving to those around us either in cash or kind all glory will be returned to God.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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