Some clerics on Thursday urged Christians not to be carried away by merry making but that they should rather reflect on their lives, their neighbours and the nation.
The clerics spoke while delivering their sermons.
Kanu Uche, the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, said that the birth of Jesus was the inauguration of a new kingdom of righteousness and peace.
“(Jesus’) ministry was a clear advocacy for a new world, a new humanity and a new civilisation characterised by reconciliation, justice, sacrificial love, peace, solidarity and prosperity,” he said. “As we celebrate this yuletide, let us remember our brothers and sisters in distress and people living in volatile parts of our nation; let us continue to pray for peace and unity.”
Adebola Ademowo, the Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, urged Christians to turn to God in prayers for peace and progress to return to Nigeria.
“As we celebrate this yuletide, there is an urgent need for all to go back to God in prayers, the author of peace,”he said. “We should confess our sins, repent and pray to God to return our nation back to the era of peace and progress.”
The Dean Emeritus prayed that God, “who brought us this far to see this Christmas season would see us through to the New Year.”
He prayed that the season would usher for Nigerians new hopes and abundant blessings, adding that God would shower his love and protection especially our country Nigeria, so that we may unite in love and peaceful co-existence.
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Adewale Martins, called on the National Assembly to re-examine and pass into law more relevant bills that would adequately protect Nigerian citizens against all forms of brutality.
Mr. Martins said that the call had become relevant in view of the many cases of assault reported.
He said it was worrisome that some law enforcement agents who had sworn to protect the lives and property of citizens, had allegedly turned against the very people they were meant to protect through acts of unwarranted brutality.
Femi Asiwaju, a former Vice President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN,Lagos State chapter said Christmas was a time for reflection “by asking ourselves if we are truly living for God, and how we are affecting the wellbeing of this nation.”
Mr. Asiwaju said it was time for Nigerians to reflect and appreciate the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for salvation.
“Nigeria needs genuine Christians; not religious people,” he said. “It is therefore a moment of reflection and to reach out to our neighbours’ notwithstanding what they are worshiping or their religion.
“Christmas is a time for reconciliation. A time for Nigerians to put aside their differences, a time for those who are violent to put their violence aside and let peace reign because Jesus died a violent death so that we will live a peaceful life.”
Also Ishaq Akintola, the Director, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, in his Christmas message, urged Nigerians to love, tolerate and forgive one another for peaceful coexistence.
Mr. Akintola appealed to Nigerians to spend the yuletide period in praying for the return of peace to the nation.
He urged religious leaders to set good examples by closing ranks and by encouraging interfaith dialogue.
“MURIC prays for the safety and wellbeing of all adherents of the Christian faith before, during and after Christmas,” he said. “Nigerians should know that religion is expected to serve as a link among homo sapiens. It should therefore not divide us. Love is sine qua non as an ingredient of righteousness. Religion is therefore dry and incomplete where there is no love.”