Christmas: Love God, mankind, Uzodimma admonishes Christians

…Urges returning Imo people to savour the beauty of State


Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has admonished Christians all over the world and Imo State in particular, to make love for God and mankind the core reason for the celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ – Christmas.


He advised that the perception by some persons that Christmas is a period of wild celebration should be done away with, noting that the salient but significant message of the season is God’s immeasurable love for mankind.


“It is because of this unique love that he sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be born by a woman so that He can die for us for our sins and guarantee our salvation. No love can be greater than this.”


Governor Uzodimma gave the Christmas message in his remarks at the 2023 Christmas Carol with the theme: “Unto Us A Son Is Given” held at the Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu Square New Owerri on Wednesday.


It was an occasion where he also urged returning Imo people to use the Christmas period to savour the beauty of the State that is now peaceful and serene due to God’s gracious intervention and immeasurable love for Imo people.


Accompanied by his wife, Chioma, the Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku, the Deputy Governor-elect, Lady Chinyere Ekomaru and other key personalities across the three arms and government, Governor Uzodimma further admonished Christians to show love to one another as the greatest commandment to mankind is to humanity.


The Governor said that the recourse to criminality by persons who claim to be Christians but are enmeshed in killings, kidnapping, armed robbery, sponsorship of insecurity etc, either for political reasons or other considerations, cast a slur on the love God showed to mankind by sending His son, Jesus Christ, to be born for all and for our salvation.


“The advent season holds immense importance in the lives of Christians, for it signifies the birth of Christ as the fulfillment of prophesies and divine promises, without his birth, there would be no redemption, no resurrection and ultimately, no Christianity.”


He was also full of appreciation to the leadership of the Church for their constant prayers and intercession for the peace of God to reign in Imo, stressing that 2024 will be a better year for all.


Governor Uzodimma’s remarks read in full: “Another season of joy is here, the season of Christmas, the season of advent, our season of boundless joy and salvation. For Christians all over the world, the advent season is when we gather as Christians in joyous anticipation of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the saviour of mankind.


“The advent is a very significant and important period in the life of all Christians because it heralds the birth of Christ as a fulfilment of the prophesies and God’s promise to the world.  Without the birth, there would have been no death, and there would have been no resurrection. And without resurrection, there would have been no Christianity.


“This is why I am very happy that this year’s Christmas Carol Service has been planned to include a lot of praise songs. As you are aware, nothing pleases God more than praises.  Praise worship is another form of showing our gratitude to God for continuously showering us with unmerited favours and mercy.


“So, let the praise songs reverberate across the length and breadth of Imo State for all to know that we are happy and that we are grateful to God for the gift of life, for his countless graces on us as individuals and on Imo State in general. Yes, God has been merciful and  faithful to our state in many ways than one, and we need to thank and praise Him with all our might.


“However, often times, we wittingly or unwittingly allow our wild perception and accompanying celebration of Christmas to drown the salient but significant message, which is God’s immeasurable love for mankind. It is because of this unique love that he sent His only begotten Son,  Jesus Christ, to be born by a woman so that He can die for us for our sins and guarantee our salvation. No love can be greater than this.


“Therefore, we should make love the theme for this year’s Christmas celebrations.  We should show love to God who loved us first, even while we were still sinners and also show love to our fellow human beings. The Gospel tells us that the greatest of all commandments is love.


“In truth, if we have love, we can overcome almost all of life’s challenges.  Nobody  with love will go to rob his neighbour or kidnap people just to get money to celebrate Christmas.  Nobody will engage in the mindless murder of others if he has love. No politician will engage in thuggery and bloodletting just to score a cheap political point if the person has love. If we have love, there will be no politically contrived insecurity.


“My brothers and sisters in Christ,  let us embrace this year’s Christmas with the renewed hope it offers us, especially here in the state where we are transiting to a new term that is solidly committed to the welfare of the people.


“Indeed, as we emerge from the ashes of avoidable insecurity and the attendant misery, we should  look forward, in the coming years,  to a new lease of life that offers love and prosperity to all. We must make love our new banner in the coming years.


“Let me use this opportunity to assure our people who intend to come home to celebrate the season with their loved ones, that they should do so without any iota of hesitation. Imo State is safe and beautiful. The streets are wearing warm, beautiful looks with open arms to welcome everybody.


“The days of Egyptian drudgery are over. We are in a new dawn; a new era of the greatest good for the greatest number of our people.  With our well paved roads and massive youth empowerment, we are enthroning prosperity for all.


“Let me also commend the body of Christ for their fervent prayers that assisted in no small measure in ushering peace back in our dear State.  I am most grateful to the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria for its resilience in upholding the state in prayers in spite of the intimidation and threats from the enemies of peace. Thank you.


“But let me say that Christians should not relent in their prayers.  We need to sustain the hard won peace in our state.  And we need to preach to our people to appreciate the fact that without peace, we cannot have progress.


“As we await this year’s Christmas, the  birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, I wish all Imo people and residents a merry Christmas and a happy new year in advance.


“Let the songs of PRAISE continue to the glory of God.”


Earlier in his admonition, the Guest Preacher, the Anglican Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace the Most Red. David Onuoha, appreciated God for another Christmas and for everyone who came to be part of this year’s Christmas Carol.


Archbishop Onuoha expressed his profound gratitude to the Governor for loving God by way of sustaining the “Imo Prays” since the inception of his tenure and prayed God to continue to bless and direct him aright in piloting the affairs of the State.


He urged Christians to use this festive period to embrace peace, unity and reconciliation, noting that with the elections now over, those who lost and are aggrieved should join hands with Governor Uzodimma to develop Imo State “because it can only be one Governor at a time.”


In his goodwill message, the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) Chairman in Imo State, Rev. Dr. Eches Divine Eches thanked God for another successful Christmas Carol and commended the Governor for his support to the CAN.


Dr. Eches recalled all the commendable testimonies of different men of God and respected Nigerians about Governor Uzodimma and concluded that God did not make any mistake in giving him to Imo at this time.


Prayers were generously offered for the Governor and his family, those working with him and Imo State at large by Bishop Maxwell Korie and other men of God present.


The Government House Choir and other Choirs rendered solorous hymns that captivated the souls of attendees and reminded all that 2023 Christmas is here for real.


Oguwike Nwachuku

Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor