By Our Reporters
Abakaliki – Some prominent Nigerians on Tuesday appealed to Nigerians to continue to live in peace and tolerance as Christians celebrates Christmas.
In their separate statements, they advised the people to be their brothers’ keepers so that the country would witness giant strides in all fields of human endeavours.
In his 2018 Christmas message, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi urged all Christians all over the state to be agents of peace in their daily undertakings.
Umahi described this year’s Christmas as a moment for Christians to exude peace as the country was preparing for the 2019 general elections.
‘‘Today, 25th December, 2018, marks yet another event which is the commemoration of the birth of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ spanning over two thousand years ago.
‘‘As Christians, this is a veritable moment to preach peace, Christ being the Prince of peace himself.
‘‘This is also a time to live in peace with our fellow countrymen and women without recourse to their different religious and political affiliations.
‘‘As the 2019 general elections in the country gather momentum, I urge all of you to get your Permanent Voter Cards ready and vote for only those who have been tested and trusted.
Also, a cleric, Istifanus Koce of the ECWA Good News in Kuje, enjoined Christians to emulate Jesus Christ by being humble, show love and promote peaceful co-existence.
In his message during the Christmas church service he said that Christmas is the time when Christians should reflect on God’s love and the virtues that characterised Jesus which included humility and kindness.
“Christmas is a time to reflect on the humility espoused by Jesus Christ, and the fact that he came to earth in a human body and died on the cross manifests his humility.
“Our message on Christmas is that it is a time of peace and kindness from God and which people should exercise and share.
“God is loving, because he gave us a gift and the gift he gave us is Jesus Christ to redeem us from sin,’’ he said.
However, he said Jesus came to ensure rebirth of the people of the world, gave them life in him, new values, new mindset and new transformation for those who received Christ.
The cleric prayed for the leadership of the Church and political office holders across the country to imbibe the spirit of truth and integrity.
In Maiduguri, Bishop Oliver Dashe, the Catholic Bishop, Maiduguri Diocese, admonished Christian faithful to embrace the good lessons of Christmas to be righteous and show love to one another.
Dashe said that it was good for the faithful to show love in their words, deeds and actions as well as support the needy in the society.
He admonished the faithful to use the period to pray for the nation’s unity and stability, as well as peaceful conduct of the 2019 general elections.
The priest noted that Christmas was celebrated to enable the faithful engage in spiritual supplications, uphold righteousness and show love for the greater good of humanity.
Dashe enjoined the faithful to be modest and simple in celebrating the season, noting that he usually send gift to Muslim brothers during the season to strengthen love and mutual relationship.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Christmas celebration was generally peaceful in Maiduguri township and other parts of the state.
Special mass services were held at various churches in the Borno capital.
A cross section of the residents who spoke to NAN expressed joy over the peaceful celebration in Maiduguri.
Mrs Lydia Yusuf said she was happy to celebrate the season in good health.
“I am happy and thankful to God, for giving me life and health to celebrate Christmas.”
Another resident, Danial Gambo, said he celebrated the season in a low key style in view of the harsh economic condition.
“I only buy new dresses for the children to celebrate Christmas in a happy mood,” he added.
Similarly, Pastor Abdulrahman Abraham, the Assistant Resident Pastor , Living Faith Church, Kugbo, FCT has described Christmas season as a time for rejoicing, giving thanks for life and showing love to other people.
Abraham said Christmas season is a time to be rejoicing for the gift of life and showing love to people in the community.
He said that Christmas offered Christians an opportunity to reciprocate Jesus’ incredible act of love, by dedicating themselves to things that promote good virtues, peace, harmony and progress.
‘‘When you look at all the things that are happening around us, you would think that there is nothing to rejoice for.
‘‘But I tell you, to be alive and healthy are enough to appreciate God for His love.
‘‘People that are better than us are in the mortuary. Some are in the hospitals and others are nowhere to be found,’’ he said.
Abraham, however, urged them to continue to dedicate their lives to the service of God and the advancement of peace, unity and love.
He expressed confidence that service to God with clear conscience brought about good tidings and blessings to the believers.