By Sunday Akin Olukoju
December of any year that is running to an end and January of the New Year are two very symbolic months.
To some, it is a time of glorious exit of a very eventful year, and a new birth represented by a new month and a new year. To some, it is just a time of merriment when family and friends meet, greet and eat.
This time of the year, to some others, is the period when some marketers target innocent people with disposable income to get them to part with as much cash as possible. It is called business. It is a time when adverts run endlessly on air about something new that must be purchased or patronized if heavens must be prevented from falling.
So, many individuals fall over one another, running from one mall to another looking for blow out or blow up sales. It is the time of the year when people give and receive gifts.
In some parts of the world, this period of the year could be extremely cold, but the warmth in the hearts of the people can never be mistaken or missed. The joy in the air is always contagious.
The creative lightings around town usually bring light into the dark world of many. It is a time of the year when loneliness is minimized, and memories of family gatherings are maximized.
Some will exchange pleasantries through handshakes and hugs while wishing one another a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. It is the time of the year when people complain less but complement more.
This is a season to reason together in order to command divine blessings. This continues to be the best time when broken relationships are mended and warring parties reconciled. Even in different parts of the world where the weather is warm or hot at this time of the year, the celebration and dancing in the sun bring ecstasy to bear on the atmosphere.
So, this brings up some important points worth pondering over. While some people claim that they will be so offended except ‘Happy Holidays’ is the only greeting that should rent the air during this time, others are livid with rage, questioning why anyone should find ‘Merry Christmas’ offensive in a country that should be democratic!
Who should determine how we felicitate with or greet our fellow citizens during any festive period? Who should be offended, and what is or could be offensive in saying ‘Merry Christmas’ or in celebrating a religious festivity in a particular way? What if this way of life has been in existence for ages?
What if people decide to dig deep to know the whole story surrounding the season in question? What is the season all about? In a democratic society founded on rich and life-changing Christian values that birthed research universities, teaching hospitals, and the building of modern infrastructures as well as enduring democratic institutions, how can someone suddenly become offended just because someone made a slight allusion to the same Christian values that brought about the regime of openness and liberty?
The reason for this season of giving and blessing is a person.
This person is kind. This person is humble.
This person is compassionate.
This person is gracious.
This person is merciful.
This person delights in giving.
This person is quick at forgiving.
This person loves passionately.
This person brings joy immeasurable.
Wherever this person shows up, peace radiates.
This person goes about doing good.
This person moves around with healing for everyone.
This person takes away the tears of the bereaved and the pain of the wounded.
This person sets those in bondage free.
This person delivers the oppressed.
This person teaches wisdom.
This person lifts up the lowly.
This person demonstrates a lifestyle of moderation.
This person exemplifies simplicity.
This person epitomizes contentment.
This person obeys authority even when it hurts.
This person feeds the hungry even in the face of limited resources.
This person gives freely without expecting anything in return.
This person defeated ego and shut down arrogance.
This person protects the vulnerable and defends the defenseless.
This person knows how and what it means to persevere.
This person has self-control.
This person is completely meek.
This person is totally selfless.
This person is bold and righteous.
This person confronts and defeats evil in high and low places.
This person lives sacrificially.
This person lives faithfully.
This person exemplifies gentleness.
This person radiates goodness.
This person stands like a protective garrison without comparison who daily prevents arson.
This person stands as a divine liaison that gives life lesson.
This person is like a mason who helps construct a prison for those who commit treason.
This person is a super-person who will always create a unison that will jettison any oppressor’s poison in the atmosphere.
This person is the Son who stepped down into a chaotic world to be our spokesperson.
Yes, a person can, and is actually the reason for this season.
He is the innocent Lamb that is teaching the world about becoming harmless.
He is the Prince of Peace who lived and taught true peace without pretensions.
He is the Wonderful Counselor who guides along the path of righteousness
He is the true light whose light illuminates the dark world.
He is the Truth whose word is the most reliable and through which the lies of the world are exposed.
He is the Faithful Witness who demonstrates the ultimate divine character that builds and elevates.
He is the Mediator who keeps reconciling aggrieved parties in the most amiable ways.
He is the Rock upon which unbreakable foundations are laid.
He is the Dayspring whose sunrise brings beauty and life.
He is the Cornerstone upon which enduring pillars of life rest.
He healed the sick without administering medication or demanding remuneration.
He made the lame to walk, even the lame from the womb without the aid of walking stick.
He forgives sinners in His majesty as a divinely conceived One.
He healed lepers and made their skins as clean as that of new-born babies.
He fed thousands of starving people by turning almost nothing into abundant provisions.
He delivered the demon-possessed of many years. He raised the dead.
He calmed the raging storm and brought succor to the failing hearts of His disciples.
He Himself died and rose again, conquering death in the process, and making the enemy His footstool. He taught with authority like no other. His insights were profound and powerful. Till tomorrow, and forever, Demons bow before Him. His conception in His mother’s womb was divine – the only One ever conceived this way, and the Only One that will be so conceived. At birth, Angels announced Him, and Heavenly Stars led worshippers to His exact location.
He came, saw, and laid down His life to rescue humanity from death and destruction. Even on the Cross where he was crucified, He still pleaded for forgiveness for humanity.
This reason for the season represents the person of Jesus, whose birth as baby Jesus reminds us of that indescribable gift that brought divinity to bear on humanity, and in the process, causing the beauty and holiness of heaven to bear on the crudeness and ugliness of this unholy chaotic earth.
(❚ Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju is the Director of Distance Education of Providence Theological Seminary, a community newspaper correspondent, and the president of a community organization)