By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has urged Christians not to seek the infant Jesus in the beautiful figures of the Christmas cribs, the twinkly lights and the gaudy decorations in our homes and streets but in the poor and deprived Nigerians who go to bed hungry.
In a goodwill message to Christians by his Media Office in Abuja, Senator Ngige described the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, which Christians celebrate at Christmas as the most powerful message of hope in today’s Nigeria, geared in the battle against socio-economic and security challenges. He added that God works in a peculiar way that is beyond human comprehension as exemplified in the birth of Christ, the saviour of mankind.
“He was born a king but not the type that mounts the throne to dish out orders or the chariot to wage wars, but a humble Messiah who must suffer death for the redemption of mankind.
“The message is that we must model our lives after him. Even when the enraged Herod sought to kill him, God could have easily intervened by eliminating Herod but His angel, only advised Joseph and Mary to escape with the infant Jesus to Egypt, an excruciating journey of many days!
“ Christians must therefore not despair or resign to fate but be ever ready to work their way out of every tribulation, looking up to God for his seamless lead.”
Quoting Pope Francis in La Croix International, Ngige said, “ God may not take away insecurity and unpredictability that breed fear and anxiety but shares our experience of them. He offers a promise that all will be well.”
Further reflecting on hope as the cardinal significance of Christmas, Ngige said the masses of Nigeria have been at the heart of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, hence his numerous pro-people policies and actions to improve their lots.
“ The fidelity of the Buhari administration to the prompt payment of salaries and allowances of workers as well as the firm directive of the President that no civil servant should be disengaged, despite dwindling resources, is aimed at succour for the least in the social ladder and hope to families at large.
“ A different administration would have hidden under the façade of right-sizing, down-sizing and such administrative nomenclatures to compound the challenges in the world of work. Here, therefore, lies a clear window, an epiphany into the inner thoughts of the President, in a federal administration that has rolled out more economic empowerment programmes than any hitherto. We will even do more in the new year.
“ As we celebrate, therefore, let’s moderate the feasting by leaving a room for the spiritual, without which Christmas loses its significance. Let us pray for God to make us a living stone, so that our hope, burnished once more by this year’s remembrance of the birth of the Prince of Peace, will glower than die out once the jingle bell is over.”