Let Christmas Sprit Inspire “political, social, religious peace”: Archbishop in Nigeria

Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja

The Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria has called upon the people of God in the West African country that is battling insecurity issues to be inspired by the spirit of Christmas to embrace peace.

In his Sunday, December 5 homily at the National Christian Centre of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama used the story in the book of Isaiah of predators dining together with their preys to call for peace in the country.

“The spirit of Christmas should inspire us to political, social, and religious peace; to beat our swords into ploughshares, spears into sickles, not to lift up swords and knives or fire bullets at others, and not to continue to train for war,” Archbishop Kaigama said in reference to the Prophet Isaiah.

The Nigerian Archbishop who was speaking on the occasion of the country’s Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols added, “Despite our cultural and religious differences, there is room for peaceful coexistence. We must remember the olden days when we shared gifts at Christmas to all; and at Sallah, we excitedly received gifts from Muslims.”

Organized jointly by Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and Voice of Nigeria (VON), the December 5 event was marked under theme, “Peace, be still.”


“We must work harder to restore the fraternity and friendship that once characterized our relationship, now overgrown by distrust, suspicion, polarization and prejudices,” Archbishop Kaigama said, adding that restoring a good relationship between people of various religious backgrounds in Nigeria is hindered by a section of people in the country who he described as self-righteous.

“Members of each religious group in Nigeria often think other people are the sinners, bad people, criminals or enemies,” the Archbishop of Abuja said, explaining that those who look down upon others behave like the Pharisee whose prayers were filled with self-righteousness.

He went on to challenge the people of God in Africa’s most populous nation to engage in some self-examination in view establishing areas to work on saying, “Look into the mirror. That person you see is not blameless; work on him or her.”

The Catholic Archbishop further urged Nigerians to make use of the birth of Jesus to repent and to ask for the grace to resist the temptation of restlessness and violent tendencies in the face of “real or perceived problems”, saying that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

“Let us ask for a spirit of true repentance and admit the crimes we have committed against one another, to genuinely consolidate our brotherhood and sisterhood as Nigerians,” Archbishop Kaigama said December 5.

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He further encouraged his compatriots to emulate prophet Micah by reflecting upon their lives and resolving to “act justly, love tenderly” and also to walk in the humble fellowship with God.

The Nigerian Archbishop added, in reference to the famed prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, “We ask the Lord to make us instruments of peace. Where there is hatred in this country let us bring love, where there is injury, let us bring pardon, to achieve the much-needed social transformation and progress for us all.”

He used texts from book of Prophet Isaiah to encourage Nigerians to face hardships with courage, saying that amid insecurity challenges in the country, they will come out as “a better people, a better nation, bound in freedom, peace and unity.”

“Let us not for any reason give up; it shall be well with our country Nigeria, it shall be well with our families; it shall be well with our youths, and we shall all flourish and blossom once again,” the Archbishop who has been at the helm of Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 said.

He cautioned Nigerians against engaging in bitter contention and “vainglory”, and posed, “Are we surprised that there is conflict, violence, inhuman treatment, injustice, corruption and inequitable distribution of our God-given resources?”


Speaking on the preparations Nigerians engage in during the Christmas season including travelling and lavish celebrations, Archbishop Kaigama cautioned against inflation of prices and reckless driving.

“Some drivers drive at break-neck speed and cause multiple accidents. We therefore implore drivers to drive with very great caution. Those who take advantage of the season to inflate prices should be charitable, and those who arbitrarily increase transport fares even before the rumored not-too-favorable government decision to remove fuel subsidy, to be considerate,” he said.

He further appealed to the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to ensure that the safety of the people as they go about their normal activities in the festive month of December is guaranteed.

Archbishop Kaigama called upon the people of God in the West African country to remain firm in faith and to always walk in hope so as to be renewed in love.

“Even in the midst of the multidimensional problems we face such as the COVID-19 Pandemic, the inhuman activities of terrorists, kidnappers, bandits, militant herdsmen, combative agitators well as poverty and unemployment, we are called to live by faith”, he said.

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He further made reference to the former Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello’s 1959 Christmas message and called for unity in diversity.  

“We are people of many different races, tribes and religions, who are knit together by common history, common interests and common ideals. Our diversity may be great but the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us,” Archbishop Kaigama said December 5, and added, “Let us remember the common brotherhood before God.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.