Christmas always has cherished memories for me right from childhood. My parents made us look forward to the three key festive occasions – Easter, Christmas and New year celebrations. As an active member of the children’s church, we acted nativity plays. I cannot forget the day I froze as a six year old while acting the angel that stopped Abraham from killing Isaac. Abraham had raised his knife to kill Isaac and I was the voice from heaven to stop him and I froze, tongue tied. But it has stayed with me and thank God angels are no men or else if the one that was sent had been tongue tied like me, the story would have been different. But the love of God that came down at Christmas was running in Abraham. His faith and loyalty to God propelled the dream of universal pardon and salvation through centuries of history until it became a reality in the humble home of Joseph and Mary of Nazareth and now in our lives.
Love came down from heaven to do three basic things for us. The first is to reveal the love and mercy of God to us, a people accustomed to the judgment of God because of the eternal law of sowing and reaping – “Whatsoever a man sows, that is what he shall reap (Gal. 6:7) “ The second is to reveal to us that we must love God with all our hearts through obedience to His commandments and revelations to our hearts and through reverential worship that is due to Him alone – (John 14:15, 21 & 23). The third is to see how loving God can practically translate into loving our neighbors so that we can daily become God’s answers to the prayers of others. As we practice love and goodwill to our fellow men, we reach out to them and fight daily for their greatest good that is within our power. This is the way we are released from the twin scourges of selfishness and greed that is the bane of society to serve others selflessly. This is the self-denial taught by our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 9:23. The apostle Paul echoed this when he wrote: Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV) 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
We only begin to imbibe the true message of Christmas when we are able to selflessly reach out to others so that God Almighty can love them through us whether we are at work, at home or in church. When love controls our daily work, corruption and related evils will be far from us as we work tirelessly for the greatest good of our people. The love and sacrifice that came down at Christmas must envelope us as we go into the year 2013, that the dreams of our people for the actualization of nationhood propelled by the love of God and love for others can become a reality.
Dr. Onuzo is an acknowledged conference and seminar speaker in different parts of the world. He continues to be available for the work of the ministry despite his busy clinical work. He is also the Associate Pastor of the National Headquarter’s Church of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria. He is married to Mariam, a medical doctor and they have four children: Dilichi, Chinaza, Dinachi and Chibundu