Celebrating Christmas should be for demonstration of God's love- Cleric

Pastor E. O. Olowookere

By 'Gbenga Bankole

"No idol can be perfectly equated with the Lord Jesus Christ, nor any man, the reason therefore for celebrating Christmas should be for demonstration of God's love towards this decaying world through God glorifying means," the Minister in Charge of Christ Apostolic Church, Latona English Assembly, Osogbo, Pastor E. O. Olowookere has said.

Pastor Olowookere who stated this in his Christmas Message said the best way to celebrate Christmas is beyond the winding and dining, or clubbing as imbibed by youths, stating that the celebration of Christmas should be evangelism oriented.

According to him, the church ought to seek for the despised and destitute ones among the society (community) for rehabilitation and regeneration purposes.

While commenting on why Christmas worth celebrating; Pastor Olowookere explained that; " It has been a great subject for discussion most especially from the seventeenth century where scholars were divided as to the relation of Christmas with the birth of Christ. Regardless of the argument, even though, there were no particular biblical command to be observing a time for the birth of Christ, we should also not forget that during Christ, He never promised the believers that they would be addressed as Christians, yet, they were named (even at Antioch, a gentile town).

"I believe that the early stage of the Christian church was a period of persecution which possibly affected the full records of virtually many of their practices, but for a few we could garnered from the scripture.
Whether the origin of Christmas is traceable to the pagan sun god or not, history will not forget the Constantine era which led to the adoption of Christian faith as the state religion. Some of the pagans who reluctantly accepted the gospel were however began to compare and contrast the similarities and dissimilarities between the paganism and Christianity. From this, the church began to equate some of the pagan annual festivities to some of the significant chronicles of the Christian faith."

"Christmas is one of these festivals, however, people like John Knox argues that the reason of the season is what matters most, that the date (that is, the exact date) of Christ's birth is immaterial to the fact that He was born. It was the introduction of Julian calendar that dated the nativity story to fall on the exact date of Christmas (25th December). You may be aware that some countries are not observing the 25th December, some even around January. The most common and popular is the 25th December."

"Like I supported John Knox, the reason for the season is what should be our object of celebration. Let us not be deceived, if He was not born, where will the celebration of His death be? Today it baffles my mind for the future of the Christian church where some of the ministers are now becoming the critics of what has really help in sensitizing our world about Christ."

"Let me add that generally the season is so unique, methinks, it is an approval from heaven just like a Sunday of any week, very calmly and heavenly. So I think Christmas is worth celebrating for the following major reasons:
1. It keeps emphasizing on the personality of Jesus Christ
2. It shows the veracity of God's Word. For instance, the prophecy in Isaiah concerning the saviour's birth, was prophesied nothing less than seven to eight hundred years before the actual fulfilments. (Isaiah 7:11-14; 9:6)
3. It is an indication that no condition is irredeemable. If Christ could came to redeemed us, Christmas will always remind us of the redeeming power of God.
4. It is worth celebrating because we are talking about the birth of a king, priest and Prophet, all in one person (Jesus)! (Matthew 2:11)
5. More over, aren't we being commanded by the Lord to do remember Him (especially when He was about going to the cross)? What does the scripture says?"And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19 We further reads "And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." (1Corinthians 11:24,25 ). Therefore, to remember Him is to remember everything about Him (His birth inclusive)."

"Talking of Christmas purpose, it is to be celebrated (if possible every now and then) because it is and should be an avenue for soul winning through the sharing of love of God, as it is order of the day (Yuletide season)."

*The best way to celebrate Christmas is beyond the winding and dining, or clubbing as imbibed by youths. The celebration of Christmas should be evangelism oriented:
1. By sponsoring message on the mass media platforms (such as TV, radio or prints media).
2. The church ought to seek for the despised and destitute ones among the society (community) for rehabilitation and regeneration purposes.
3. No one is expected to go into debts for mundane things. Thus celebrating Christmas should be in a modest manner.
4. Appreciation to the Lord of glory should be part of our approach in Christmas celebration because He came to be able to save us."

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