Easter, Real Reason For Christmas
I always imagined why Easter, the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is less observed than Christmas. But it becomes increasingly explicit that many people are ignorant of the fact that Easter is the reason for Christmas. Easter not only commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, it is also a commitment to a remarkable life of love, truth, justice, humility, non-violence, among others.
Jesus came into the world passionately pontificating and reiterating the truth. He damned injustice and bolstered a religion that accentuated the spirit rather than the letter of the law. Any wonder he was in regular contention with the status quo and those who benefited from it.
The resurrection of Christ affirms the triumph over evil, the ovation of light over darkness and the much hoped-for conquest of wickedness, aggression, and violence by the forces of love and peace. Easter, therefore, rekindles hope in those who suffer disproportionately and give them considerable aplomb that their misery will not last for eternity and that ultimate triumph belongs to God who is just and true.
Easter encapsulates the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and has an instructive lesson on the efficacy of humility, service, self-sacrifice and veritable love by which one could die for higher values of truth and justice. Indeed, Easter provides instructions on the relevance of values to the effect that human life could be willingly sacrificed for the sake of love and in defence of truth and justice.
Nigerians can learn a lot from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Saviour instructs his disciples that those who seek to be first must make themselves last and servant of all. He illustrated this with the washing of their feet. Though he had ample opportunity to live in opulence beyond measure, he elected to be in solidarity with the poor, the weak, the sick, widows, orphans and all the marginalised people. In the end, He died an ignominious death on the cross that we may savor abundant life.
These are strong exemplars Nigerians of all creed and ideological persuasions need to absorb. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ challenge incumbent and aspiring leaders to shun the path of selfishness, avarice and excessive ambition for power.
With the commitment of Jesus to a life of love, humility, service and sacrifice portrayed by the event of the resurrection acclaimed annually globally, Easter demands from Christians and non-Christians alike to embrace the values exemplified in Jesus guaranteeing ultimate fulfillment for individuals and lasting peace for society.
In the face of predominant criminality and corruption flourishing side by side with a vibrant display of religiosity in our country, Easter admonishes Nigerians to take a cursory look at our social morality apparently at variance with our robust religious enterprise. The contradiction is a major source of discomfiture to our nation, and thoughtful Nigerians must spare some moments to reflect upon it this season.
The crux of religion as taught by Jesus whose resurrection we celebrate at Easter, is not the display of vain ritualism where Nigerian worshippers seem to excel beyond all else. Besides the popular crusaders, prayer vigils, dry fast and miracle explosions, Jesus calls his disciples to the bona fide religion found in the passionate commitment to the values Easter propagates.
The spirit of Easter fosters co-existence and the sanctity of a nation’s unity and cohesiveness. The season advocates prayers against all negative tendencies likely to impinge the tranquility and oneness of the country. Life is sacrosanct. Life is precious. No one can make life.
Since Jesus has paid the supreme price for us, why must we kill to achieve our ambition? If Jesus could show love and compassion to all those he encountered including the robber who had the privilege of sharing his last moments with him, why is it hard to show mercy to fellow citizens? Why do we kill in the name of religion?
We must all strive to preserve our humanity regardless of our diversities. The teachings of Jesus demonstrate the equality and oneness of all flesh and blood before God. If we keep faith and do what is right, Nigeria will overcome its adversaries. One of the enormous significance of Easter is rebirth. The season specifically tasks our leaders to inject new life, new hope into our people.
Nigeria stands in need of rebirth. That is what can bring us the progress we so desire. We must be prepared to share all we have and what we are with others. That is what God expects of us. Our readiness to give and sacrifice ourselves for others is central to the message of Easter.