All too soon Christmas is here with us again and we are witnessing the completion of another year! Christmas is the time that we remember the birth of Jesus the Saviour as we share in the songs of the Angels, the gladness of the Shepherds and the wor

Christmas Goodwill Message By The Rev. Dr Victor Okoe Abbey, Ag. Moderator Of The General Assembly Of The Presbyterian Church Of Ghana

All too soon Christmas is here with us again and we are witnessing the completion of another year! Christmas is the time that we remember the birth of Jesus the Saviour as we share in the songs of the Angels, the gladness of the Shepherds and the worship of the Wise Men.

Christmas is associated with generosity, family unity and love. Relationships are central to the celebration of Christmas. There are many phrases so firmly attached to this period that they are used even in secular contexts: “peace on earth”, “goodwill”, “the Christmas spirit”, and “Merry Christmas”. These are great concepts but, without Jesus, they become empty. Peace, love, restored relationships, joy, and goodwill are the results of knowing Jesus. To talk of them in isolation is to hold out false hopes.

Isaiah says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light”, and went on to talk about joy, rejoicing, freedom and peace (Isaiah 9:2-5). How are these things possible? The answer is found in verses 6-7:

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.”

It is common for Christians to bemoan the fact that the world seems to have taken Christ out of Christmas. We feel sorry for Jesus when he is ignored on his own birthday, and we remind each other that Jesus is the reason for the season.

The true essence of Christmas is the celebration of the incredible love of God that God demonstrated for us by sending His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ to this world to save us by suffering and dying on the Cross for our sins. Therefore, the real Christmas story is the story of God becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. The Message Version of the Bible puts it so graphically:  Christ in our neighbourhood!

 This month is exactly one year since Rt Rev Prof. Cephas Narh Omenyo, took office as the 17th Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

As you are aware, the Moderator has been indisposed since May this year. By the Grace of the Almighty God he is responding to treatment. Our prayer and hope is that he will return to office soon to implement the vision of the Church. It is on his behalf, and my own behalf, that I take this opportunity to wish you all a “MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

In a time like this, it is appropriate that we give thanks to God for preserving our lives and providing for our needs according to His immeasurable riches in glory. Christmas prompts us to acknowledge God’s love and goodness to all of us.

 I also thank all those who continue to support and pray with us, since your prayers and support have been a source of strength, comfort and encouragement. 

The truth of the matter is that all humanity and, indeed, the entire world is helpless in the face of human predicament. It is the miracle of Christmas – the incarnation, God with us humans – that presents a way out of this predicament.

 At Christmas, God reaches down to us in order to lift us up from all that work against life as God intends it to be, and to guarantee peace with God.  Indeed, the forces that work and militate against us as a nation and as individuals are many. One of these forces is corruption which has become a canker in Ghana now.

In the spirit of “Peace on earth and goodwill to all” we must celebrate this Christmas meaningfully as we rise up and join hands with the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, to fight against the corrupt practices that threaten to bring our country to its knees. The canker of corruption has the potency of wiping out possibilities for our young democracy, weakening the effectiveness of our public institutions; undermining economic stability and becoming detrimental to genuine foreign investments and development.

I call on the people of Ghana – Christians especially – to take a stance against corruption at all levels of society.

As a Church we commend the government on the implementation of the Free Senior High School. It is our expectation that the challenges the programme faces will be addressed to smoothen the rough edges. I call on all to support the implementation of this laudable policy to ensure its success.

As we celebrate this year’s Christmas, let us remember that, on the first Christmas night, the song that the angels sang was a “song of peace”: “Peace on earth and goodwill toward all people” (Luke 2:14). It is a song that resonates well with the name of Christ Jesus announced by the Prophet Isaiah long before He was born - “Prince of Peace.”

It is my prayer that the birth of the Saviour provides the solution to the fear of condemnation and despair of life under the control of the powers of darkness, the evil systems of this world, and the inclinations of our lower nature as human beings.

We, as citizens, cannot be peace-lovers if we are not peace-makers. We cannot afford to do anything to compromise the peace we have in the country.

 As the year 2017 draws to a close, we need to take time to reflect on all that God has done for us as a Nation and as individuals and express gratitude. Let us also remember people who have shown kindness to us and express our gratitude to them. For, Christmas is a time of joy and as well as a time to say “thank you”!

I call for moderation in the celebration of Christmas and the New Year to preserve lives. I advise motorists and pedestrians to avoid reckless driving and also do away with riotous celebration of the season. Let us use the Yuletide to reflect, forgive others and reconcile with God.

 On behalf of the entire membership of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, I wish you, once again, a MERRY CHRISTMAS. May the year 2018 bring us Peace, Prosperity, and Fruitfulness through hard work?   Afi oo afi! Afrihyiapa!!    Happy New Year!!! 

 

 

 

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