Let there be peace, tolerance in country - Christian leaders urge
On the occasion of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christian leaders have stressed the need for peaceful co-existence, tolerance and sharing, among the followers of Christ.
In their messages to believers of the Christian faith, they variously stressed peace since Christ was the Prince of Peace, the need for Christians to share what they had with others because God gave His only son as a sacrificial lamb to mankind, as well as the need for Christians to show gratitude to God for his blessings.
The President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, said for Christians, Christmas was about peace since it commemorated the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
“We live in a world beset by all kinds of problems, including wars, even in the Middle East, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace. We must pray for and work towards the realisation of peace in all sectors of our lives,” he said
Most Rev. Osei-Bonsu noted that peace was not necessarily the absence of war, and added, “there is the need for us to strive to make peace a reality and not a mere dream.”
Most Rev. Osei-Bonsu said Christmas was a time of sharing, explaining that God loved the world so much that he gave his only son to mankind.
He, therefore, charged Christians to learn to give to others during the Yuletide.
“Let us help the poor, the sick, the bedridden, those who are hospitalised and have to spend Christmas away from the comfort of their homes,” he said.
For his part, the Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Dr Opoku Onyinah, while wishing Ghanaians a Merry Christmas, said Christmas “must remind all to always declare the good works of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Second Coming.”
“The Lord had been gracious to us as a nation,” he said.
Apostle Dr Onyinah said the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and Cholera in Ghana were great concerns, but the Lord had been merciful as both situations had improved.
The General Overseer of the Global Revival Ministries, Reverend Dr Robert Ampiah-Kwofie, urged Christians not to lose focus of the purpose of the celebration and indulge in sinful acts.
He said although the celebration was anchored on the birth of a saviour who died to save mankind from sin, it was, ironically, during that period that people sinned the more.
“It is about Christ. Let’s think about him and the love he has for us and commit our lives to him,” he urged.
The General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church, Rev Dr Paul Frimpong-Manso, reiterated the concern when he stated that many people tended to crowd out Jesus during Christmas with many activities which were only incidental to the occasion.
He said while it was alright for Christians to make merry while commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ after an exhaustive year, they needed to thank God for His blessings during the season, adding “It’s a signal of expressing God’s grace.”
In a joint message, the General Secretaries of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), the National Association of Christian and Charismatic Churches (NACCC) and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), expressed concern about the commercialisation of the Christmas season which had often times overshadowed the true spirit with which the season should be celebrated.
“Attention has often been focused on the buying of new clothes, new shoes, food and drinks etc., to the neglect of preparation of heart and mind for the coming of the Lord,” it said.
The statement, therefore, called on all Christians to “desist from all the ungodly acts that sometimes characterised the season.
“Let us all attend Church services, give gifts to the needy, visit the sick and the underprivileged in society. This is the true spirit of the Christmas season,” the statement stressed.