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THE LANGUAGE OF CHRISTMAS IS LOVE: Christmas message of Most Reverend Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo

Christmas speaks God's word to our broken, suffering world and his language is love. That fact will never change. The Bible teaches: "At many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets: but in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the ages" (Heb. 1:1-2). Emmanuel, God with us, is the consequence of God's love.

Christmas says: Do more for families

Christmas reminds us of the importance of the family, the very first institution which God himself revealed through Adam and Eve. All humanity is God's family. The Church is the family of God. The nuclear family of man woman and children predates and underlies every society, association in the world and therefore deserves maximum attention and consideration. Jesus came to us through a family. Joseph was admonished not to abandon his wife and he complied (Matt. 1:18-25). Joseph and Mary gave the baby Jesus their all, even protecting him from Herod, the aggressor king (Matt 2). All must defend the traditional family and nurture it. Sane families breed sane nations and a sane world to the best interest of all.

Christmas says: Take better care of children

It is through the baby Jesus that God grace us every spiritual grace, in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:3-7). It is because of Jesus that St. Peter wrote those reassuring words: "… you are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were a non-people and now you are the people of God; once you were outside his pity; now you have received pity" (1Pet.2:9-10). Children matter so much to God as Jesus himself said: (Mk. 10:13-16, Matt: 18:1-7).

Christmas says: Learn humility from the baby Jesus

God could have seized the palace of King Herod to have his Son born there but he chose a lowly manger. He was born among mere animals in humble appreciation of lowly nature. In that way all who are privileged and highly-placed must learn humility So must we all learn to value the ordinary things of nature because they speak to us of God the creator of all (Matt.20:26-28).

Christmas says: Care for the Homeless and Migrants

Had the owner of the manger not made it available, the story of the Incarnation would have been different. How blessed that owner was to have hosted the Prince of Peace! Christmas calls us to do what Abraham did (Gen. 18). "Continue to love each other like brothers, and remember always to welcome strangers, for by ding this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it (Heb 13:1-2).

Christmas says: Give Glory to God in the Highest by Giving

Christmas teaches us that in gratitude to God everybody must give what they can afford. The owner of the inn gave the manger, the shepherds gave their time, the angels gave their song and praise and the three kings each gave what he could, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Give it up to someone else.

Let us all speak the language of Christmas and become agents of praise peace, and reconciliation. The very first carol of the angels at the birth of Jesus, spoke of praise and peace. "Glory to God on high and peace to people of goodwill." Praise should define our prayer life at Christmas because it is all about heaven coming down to earth. That is why the incarnation could not happen without the power of the Holy Spirit. Without Him, there would have been no Virgin Mother. At Christmas we must remember that when we have done all we can in any circumstance, surrendering to God in complete trust like Mary is the best solution. It all adds up as the language of Christmas, the language of love.

Christmas says: Sustain Hope in God's Love

With God everybody is precious, rich and poor alike. "For God so loved the world that he sent his only son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (Jn 3:15). Isaiah said: "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on the inhabitants of a country in shadow dark as death light has blazed forth" (Is 9:1). No matter what your situation may be, Jesus himself said "I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you" (Jn. 14:18). The world, no matter what, must rest on that hope and will always be the better for it.


Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Nigeria.
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