Show love to poor at Xmas - Religious leaders tell Ghanaians
Religious leaders have appealed to Ghanaians, especially Christians, to use the celebration of Christmas to show love to the less-privileged and share some of their resources with them.
They also asked Ghanaians to be at peace with one another and unite to create the congenial atmosphere necessary for national development.
Additionally, they called on Ghanaians to use the Christmas season as a stock-taking and self-examination period.
They made the appeal in separate Christmas messages in Accra last Friday, ahead of the celebration of Christmas on December 25.
National Peace Council
In an interview to deliver his message, the Chairman of the National Peace Council, the Most Rev. Professor Emmanuel Asante, said he was excited that the Dagbon peace process was taking place at a time Ghana had joined the rest of the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
He said as Christians, the belief was that Christmas was an event “of our redemption because God so loved the world that he sent His Son to the world for our salvation”.
The Most Rev. Prof. Asante explained that Christmas linked mankind to God and their fellow human beings, adding that it was a season that promoted harmonious living, oneness and peaceful co-existence.
“Therefore, Christmas is not intended for us to simply eat and drink without thinking about the event that led to Christmas. It becomes a moment of serious reflection,” he explained, and said he was happy that the Dagbon peace process was taking place within the season.
“My Christmas message is: Let this Christmas be time when we truly relate to our fellow human beings in love, peace and harmony,” he added.
Most Rev. Philip Naameh and Apostle Eric Kwabena Nyamekye
Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference
In a goodwill message to mark the festivities, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) asked Christians and all people of goodwill in Ghana to see the celebration of Christmas and the New Year as an opportunity for stock-taking, making resolutions and giving thanks to the Almighty and Providential God.
“Therefore, we, the Catholic Bishops of Ghana, wish to take this opportunity to suggest to you, individually and collectively, some areas of stock-taking and resolution-making, while we urge all to thank God for His grace and mercies which we have enjoyed in 2018 and which we wish to enjoy the more in 2019,” The President of the GCBC, the Most Rev. Philip Naameh, said in a goodwill message to Ghanaians.
The statement said Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, adding: “Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Word of God, became flesh (John 1:14) and was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary (cf Matt. 1:22-25). This is a mystery with deep spiritual significance. In other words, Christmas is a profoundly spiritual or religious celebration.”
“Unfortunately, however, commercial activities and the over-emphasis of the social dimension of the feast have increasingly overshadowed the spiritual significance of Christmas,” it said.
It asked Ghanaians to firmly resolve to avoid or overcome any negative impact of the commercial or lopsided social activities on our lives and those of our families.
It further said Christmas was a season of sharing and urged Ghanaians to share with others, most especially the needy, noting that the baby Jesus Christ was celebrated by both “poor” shepherds (cf. Luke 2:16-20) and the “rich” Magi (cf. Matt. 2:9-11) at His birth, hence “both the poor and the rich must joyfully celebrate His birth”.
Describing Christ as truly the Prince of Peace, the statement expressed gratitude to Him for the peace process in Dagbon, adding: “It is also proper to commend all His human instruments for advancing this peace process. Particularly we commend the two traditional gates — Abudus and Andanis — the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, led by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, successive governments and various non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations (FBOs) and others for their efforts and commitment to ensure that the peace process in Dagbon achieves lasting success.”
Assemblies of God, Ghana
For his part, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Ghana, Rev. Professor Paul Frimpong-Manso, urged Christians to make this Christmas “a Christ-centred one; a time for expressing our gratitude to God and also for stocktaking”.
“Let us burry our differences and prejudices and love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us purge ourselves of all social vices, such as corruption, greed and selfishness. Let us live new lives of peace, love and harmony with one another,” he said.
Rev. Prof. Frimpong-Manso called on all Christians, civil society groups, political parties and their followers to close their ranks, reconcile with one another and forge ahead as a united country.
“Let us all do our best to guard the peace from God that our country Ghana has been noted for within the sub-region,” he said.
He also wished all Ghanaians a prosperous New Year, adding: “May the New Year bring you new hopes, opportunities and renewed vigour to serve God better than ever!”
The Apostolic Church-Ghana
The President of the Apostolic Church-Ghana, Apostle Peter Okoe Mankralo, commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his good work since he assumed office barely two years ago.
He pledged that the Apostolic Church-Ghana would continue to pray for the success of the President, generally, including his dream of a Ghana Beyond Aid, and prayed that he might align his Presidency to the will of God.
“On this joyous occasion of Christmas, all Christians must remember and emulate the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, who left His heavenly glory to give Himself as a sacrifice of peace to reconcile us to God. There must be peace and reconciliation in all homes, families, churches and the nation,” Apostle Mankralo said.
He said the season must be used to reach out to the poor, needy, widows, fatherless and orphans.
“Our joy is complete when others around us are also joyful. We must not only be concerned with our welfare but also that of others, especially those who do not share our faith.
“We, therefore, call on all Ghanaians to put their trust in God as we celebrate Christmas. May the peace which God has given our nation and is identified with Ghanaians continue to guide us and be our hallmark as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.
“God will provide for everybody and so the get-rich-quick attitude must be suppressed or discouraged. If we allow our actions to be guided by the precepts of God and the teachings of Christ, especially the peace that heralded His birth as the Prince of Peace, we can live peaceably with one another during this Christmas season and make it one with a difference,” he added.
The Church of Pentecost
Basing his message on “Fear of the unknown”, the Chairman of the Church of Pentecost Worldwide, Apostle Eric Kwabena Nyamekye, said the Lord confides in those who fear Him, saying: "His eyes are on those who fear Him, those whose hope is in His unfailing love.”
He said as Ghana joined the world to celebrate Christmas and look forward to a new year, “I wish to remind you that the birth of Jesus and our acceptance of His Lordship have brought us deliverance from our enemies and all we need now is to fear the Lord and a generational blessing is guaranteed.”
Apostle Nyamekye urged Ghanaians to move confidently into the coming year, knowing that those who feared God would lack nothing, adding: “Let us, with a gladsome heart, sing together with Mary in praise of our King - that this mercy extends to those who fear God from generation to generation.”
Presbyterian Church of Ghana
In a goodwill message titled: “I love Christmas”, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt Rev. Professor J.O.Y. Mante, called on Ghanaians to appreciate the importance of giving to those in need during Christmas, since God gave us His best at Christmas.
“Let us, during this Christmas season, make sure that we show kindness to other people, especially those who are in need. Let not this Christmas pass by when you have not intentionally shown kindness to someone.
“Finally, I wish to encourage all of us to listen to the message of the angels who appeared on the eve of Christmas: it was a message of goodwill and peace to all nations (Luke 2:14).
“May we all be renewed in our inner hearts, so that we will be filled with goodwill for one another and so that our nation will be filled with real peace for one another,” the message said.
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