“Christmas: Tidings of Peace”

 

A Christmas Message titled- “Christmas: Tidings of Peace” being delivered at the 2019 DAAR Christmas Carols and Lesson at DAAR Communications Plc. Headquarters, Abuja on 13th December, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

We have gathered here tonight as a family of faith in preparation to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose coming was foretold by Prophet Isaiah: “A Child is born to us!  A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counsellor”, “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9: 6).

 

Christmas, that is, the birth of Jesus, is not only the good tidings of great joy to all the people as we are told in Luke 2: 10 but also the good tidings of peace. The questions are: How is Christmas also the good tidings of peace? What is the nature of the peace of Christ? How can the peace of Christmas be linked with the joy of Christmas?

 

Before the birth of Jesus Christ, the expectation of the coming of the Messiah was high among the Jews. They were expecting the coming of their Messiah who would bring peace in Israel. They were expecting the king like God’s servant David who would rule them forever, Ezekiel 37: 25. This was evident as they had mistaken John the Baptist to be the Messiah. In Luke 3: 15, we are told that “people’s hopes began to rise, and they began to wonder whether John perhaps might be the Messiah,” Luke 2: 16-17. John said to them that he was not the Messiah.

 

After long years of waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ by the Israelites, the Angel announced his birth to the shepherds: “Be not afraid! I am here with good tidings for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David’s town, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord was born.”Luke 2: 9-11. The great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God. The three wise men travelled from the east and paid him homage as well presented him with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, Matthew 2: 11. Each gift has a prophetic meaning: gold, the gift for a king, frankincense, the gift for a priest and myrrh – a burial ointment, a gift for one who would die.

 

As a king, he established an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. These are the characteristics of the eternal and universal kingdom of the Prince of Peace. The latter is our concern here: a kingdom of justice, love and peace. Justice and love are virtues. Love and peace are fruits of the Holy Spirit. These virtues and fruits are bound closely together that the practice of one leads to another. Where there is justice, there you find love. Where there is love, there you find peace. And where there is peace, there you find joy.

 

Therefore, Christmas is also the good tidings of peace because we cannot talk of joy without talking of peace. Where there is peace, there you find joy. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ explains the nature of this kind of peace in Luke 14: 27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled anddo not be afraid”. The peace of Jesus is not the kind of peace the world gives. The peace of Jesus Christ goes with his selfless love for humanity which is strengthened by his fair play (justice) to all. In establishing his peace, Jesus Christ knows that our hearts will be troubled and fear might grip us from time to time. However, he says to us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled anddo not be afraid”. He says further that "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16: 33). As Jesus has overcome the world so we shall overcome the world too, if only we make great effort as expected of us.

 

Like Jesus, we must show fair play to everyone around us irrespective of class or creed. We must love God above all things and love our neighbour as we love ourselves. With the practice of justice and love, the peace of Christmas will radiate in our chaotic society. This will definitely lead to joy for everyone. In the words of Pope Francis, the birth of Jesus proclaims that "God is a good father and we are all brothers and sisters". Do we really see one another as brothers and sisters in our country, Nigeria? Do we practise true justice in Nigeria? From the experience of hatred, envious and excessive anger among us, it is obvious that we do not practise true justice in our society. This is evident in the lack of peace among us: kidnapping, killings of innocent persons, abject poverty and hunger in the land. This is further evident in the lack of joy among us. What then shall we do?

 

The season of Christmas helps us to reflect more deeply on justice, love, peace and joy in our families, our country and our society. If the family lacks these virtues then be assured that the society will also lack these virtues. St. Augustine once said that a disordered love produces a disordered person. In addition, a disordered person produces a disordered family and a disordered family produces a disordered society. Let us, therefore, invite Jesus Christ at this Christmas to change the face of the earth and individual disordered families. It is our collective effort to make Nigeria truly working again. May the peace and joy of Christmas be with you all.

 

Rev. Fr. Christopher Nnubia 

 

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