Time to reconcile; religious leaders urge Ghanaians
Religious leaders in the country have asked Ghanaians to use the Christmas season as a time for reconciliation among the citizenry.
They have, therefore, appealed to all who are still bitter from the outcome of the elections to let go.
The men of God stated that one of the hallmarks of Christmas was forgiveness and urged Ghanaians to forgive one another and resolve to focus on the development of the country.
They also asked Ghanaians to use the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ to entrench the rule of law and deepen the country’s democratic credentials.
While commending Ghanaians for their high sense of maturity that resulted in one of the most peaceful, credible and successful elections in the country, the men of God appealed to Ghanaians to complete the democratic process by ensuring that the transition process was devoid of rancour, acrimony and suspicion.
Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference
In a statement to mark the celebration of Christmas, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) said, “The Lord has been gracious to us as a nation, especially this year.
“Little did most people believe that the just-ended presidential and parliamentary elections would be as successful and peaceful as they turned out to be,” it said.
The statement, signed by its President, the Most Rev. Philip Naameh, said in spite of the pre-election tension, characterised by a campaign of violence, threats and insults, the elections were peaceful and hailed by both local and international observers.
“God has listened to the many prayers offered by Ghanaians and granted us one of the most peaceful, credible and successful elections witnessed as a nation. This achievement has made us all very proud as Ghanaians,”?he said.
The Most Rev. Naameh appealed to Ghanaians to complete the democratic process by ensuring that the transition process was devoid of rancour, acrimony and suspicion.
“We are thankful once again to the Electoral Commission (EC) and all other stakeholders who, in diverse ways, helped in the conduct of peaceful, very credible, transparent, free and fair elections. There is no gift greater than the gift of peace given to us as a nation,” he said.
He urged Ghanaians to continue to sustain the peace as the country went through the transition period and urged all not to yield to mistrust, suspicion and false accusations.
“We appeal to all men and women of goodwill to outlaw all forms of intolerance and discrimination, be committed to the transition process as we look forward to a smooth and transparent transfer of power to the incoming government,” the Most Rev. Naameh said.
Christian Council of Ghana
The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) congratulated Ghanaians on conducting themselves in a mature manner during this year’s electioneering.
“By God’s grace, the nation is journeying towards the end of the year and Christmas has beckoned us again,” it said.
The General Secretary of the CCG, Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, in a message to mark the festivities, called on Ghanaians to let the life of Jesus Christ influence their attitudes and ways of life.
“We, therefore, call on the people of God that as we celebrate Christmas, let us appreciate God’s gift to us. As we celebrate Christmas, we are calling on Ghanaians to appreciate our need for God and our sufficiency in Him.
“We need to allow Christ to influence every endeavour of our society, including politics and governance, family life, public discourse, health, etc,” he said.
He said Christmas was a period of joyous celebrations because “it gives us the opportunity not only to remember but also reflect on the grace and mercy that God revealed to mankind in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ”.
Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong said the council wished to draw the attention of all to the fact that one of the central messages of Christmas was God’s gift to the world.
National Peace Council
The Chairman of the National Peace Council, the Most Rev. Professor Emmanuel Asante, urged Ghanaians to coexist peacefully, irrespective of their political, economic and religious affiliations, stressing that Ghanaians must not allow those things to create any barriers among them.
He explained that the people’s ability to coexist peacefully, respecting one another’s views, was precisely what Christmas was all about.
“God became one of us and lived among us. He broke the barrier with his divinity in order that He would become one of us. Therefore, we must also break those barriers we have set between one another.
“Political, barriers, social and economic barriers must be broken for us to see brother as a brother. Let us show love, let us embrace one another and together let us build this one nation that God has given us,” the Most Rev. Prof. Asante said.
He reminded Ghanaians that “when we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the giftedness of God”.
“Christmas must also come as a challenge for us to be our brother’s keeper, to be concerned about the welfare and well-being of the less-privileged who are our neighbours. Let us open our arms to the needy among us,” he said.
Global Evangelical Church
For its part, the Global Evangelical Church thanked God that the elections were over and that “Ghana has won and God has given us a leader”.
A statement signed by the Moderator of the church, the Rt Rev. Dr Setorwu Kwadzo Ofori, said Christmas was a wonderful time of the year when “we celebrate faith, family and the tradition of giving gifts”.
“Peace is the absolute gift that God has given to us Ghanaians. So let us maintain the peace, especially as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who is the prince of peace.
“Let us remember, as a nation, that Jesus is the core of the celebration, and so when you wine and make merry, do yourself some good by allowing Jesus to have a place in your heart,” it said.
It said as a nation, there was the need to appreciate the fact that Christmas was the season for giving, remembering and sharing the love that God showed to mankind.
“We, therefore, call on all well-meaning citizens and philanthropists to reciprocate God’s love for us by reaching out to the less privileged in society,” the statement said.
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana noted that Christmas had become a season of expression of goodwill, peace and love in communities around the world.
“It has come to symbolise the miracle of bridge-building, bringing together persons and communities of diverse ethnic, religious, social and political backgrounds.
“Let this spirit of unity inform our sense of national solidarity to speed up the healing process of breaches that might have occurred during and after the recent presidential and parliamentary elections,” a statement signed by the Moderator of the church, the Rt Rev. Prof. Cephas Omenyo, said.
It said Christmas reminded Ghanaians of the importance of the family in God’s plan, adding that Christmas showed God’s concern for all, especially the weak and the marginalised.
“Let us honour the aged, women, children and all who, in one way or another, have a limitation in exercising their full liberties as human beings.
“Let us, therefore, take advantage of this Christmas season to strengthen the family and create the right home environment in which children shall grow in the fear of God and in happiness.
“Let us express the goodwill and peace of Christmas by forgiving and affirming one another in the home, so that we and our children may grow in the favour of God,” it said.
While wishing all drivers a Merry Christmas, the statement admonished them to avoid risky behaviours on the road to ensure that the season was accident-free.
“To the generality of Ghanaians, I wish to remind you that in celebrating the precious gift of God at Christmas, let us also remember the gift of our lives and especially health.
“During the festivities, we should eat and drink in moderation. Excessive indulgence is unhealthy. Eat healthy food, drink a lot of water, exercise at least three times per week and have enough rest.
“Finally, let me wish His Excellency President John Mahama, President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo, and their families a Merry Christmas. I also wish the whole nation a peaceful and Merry Christmas,” the statement concluded.