(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Sub Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp Abuja, the Venerable Benjamin Idume has submitted that it is only the light of the gospel that can give true meaning to the life of any individual. He gave this submission at the 2018 Service of Christmas Carol and Nine Lessons of the Chapel of the Advent, Episcopal House, Abuja, which was held at the Chapel of the Resurrection, New Episcopal House, Wuye, Abuja. He observed that there is so much darkness in Nigeria and in the world today, because many have refused to embrace this light, which is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He said there are a lot of atrocities being committed today, such as the kidnapping of young girls who are at school that make one question whether it is God who created the people committing these crimes. According to him, even the Church is not exonerated from the evil being perpetrated in the society, because people in the Church are also involved in these crimes; which to him, points to the fact that many in the congregation are still yet to embrace the light. Thus, he urged all present to embrace the light of God, which is Jesus Christ, so that the nation can be revived.
Using the functions of light as a metaphor to depict the attributes of Jesus, the preacher explained that light guides people when there is darkness, it promotes growth and life, it prevents crime, and it dispels darkness. He said Jesus is the author of all goodness, who pierces the darkness of sin and death and conquers them all; adding that Jesus directs the path of His children, and gives eternal life to those who believe in Him. The Venerable Idume described Jesus as the true light of the world; pointing out that the Christmas lights often displayed during the Christmas season is simply to direct people’s attention to the true and greater light, which is Jesus Christ. He opined that just as light needs to be experienced before it can be fully understood, Jesus needs to be experienced for there to be a regeneration, renewal and transformation of life.
Speaking on the theme, “Light of the World,” the clergy man defined Christmas as the celebration of the birth of the true light of God into the world; adding that He came to bring an end to the reign of darkness. He noted that anywhere there is light, darkness is driven away, because darkness can never overcome light. Reading from the Bible, Ven. Idume revealed that when Jesus was born, Herod felt threatened and so he tried to eliminate Jesus; but that Jesus did not come to contest any physical or earthly throne. He said the authority of Christ has no end, because He lives in the hearts of men and He lives and reigns forever. Therefore, according to him, all who invite Him into their lives will experience the abundant life that only Christ gives.
The Ven. Benjamin Idume mentioned various ways that individuals, especially those who are yet to embrace Christ, celebrate Christmas, pointing out that to some it is a time to make more money, to others it is a time to be reckless and to some others it is a time to indulge in evil. He however added that to the Christian, Christmas is a time to present Jesus, the one who changed history and brought about the transformation of the world through His coming, death and resurrection, to the world. He said the world rejected Jesus and even tried to in their own sense extinguish Him, but no man or darkness can overcome light. He emphasized that Christ came to earth to redeem man; charging Christians to celebrate this season by presenting Jesus Christ again to the world; adding that He alone can make Nigeria and the world at large a better place and make things work at its best.
Highpoints of the Carol Service was the rendition of Christmas songs and hymns by the congregation and representatives of the choir from various parishes in the Diocese of Abuja, including the Chapel of the Advent choir and the reading of the nine lessons that tell the story about the birth of Christ and all that surrounded His birth.
Also present at the service was the Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh and his wife, Mrs. Nkasiobi Okoh, clergy and wives of the Diocese of Abuja, and parishioners from the various Churches in the diocese.