2019 Christmas Message of His grace, Most Rev. Valerian M. Okeke


Beloved friends, as we celebrate this particular Christmas, permit me to invite all of you to be Joy to the world.

Christ came to the world as the prince of peace. He is the messenger of peace. He is the message of peace. He is peace to the world. He is joy. He is peace, but he also has made us His disciples, all Christians and all men and women of goodwill. Anyone who loves peace, is a follower of Christ. Anyone who gives joy to the world is a follower of Christ. Anyone who is a the builder of peace, a messenger of peace, who is joy to the neighbourhood is a follower of Christ.

I invite you, all men and women of goodwill, to make this our Christmas this season, that is, be joy to your neighbourhood, be joy to the world, be the joy people are yearning for. Be the part of peace which people are yearning for but unwilling to give.

We are celebrating the birth of Christ who is the prince of peace. We are being at the same time invited to be followers of Christ. You don’t have to be a Christian, but be a follower of Christ by your behaviour, by being a source of joy, source of peace, a true agent of reconciliation, a true angel of peace, a true builder of peace and giver of joy.

Let me mention some of the steps we can take to be truly joy to the world.

1. BE GREAT: Be great, not by being served but by serving others. Be a servant to those around you, that makes you true great. That is what Christ did and gave joy to the world.

2. BE RICH: Be rich, not by receiving, not by grabbing, not by destabilizing others, but by enriching others. Think of what you can do to make the world a better place, what you can do to make the society a joyful place, a happier place, a peaceful place, a better society and you become part of Christ message and you become His messenger.

3. BE HAPPY: Be happy, not by doing what is popular and profitable to yourself, rather by doing what is right, what is good, what is noble and what is glorious, especially what will benefit others, what will benefit those around you.

4. DO NOT TAKE THE EASY WAY: Do not take the easy way that yields immediate pleasure and profit to you, rather take the way that yields goodness; the way that gives lasting joy to many; the way that promotes the common good. Follow the law of nature. Let me quote Pope Francis: Pope Francis reminds us that it is good to be happy, but you are happier when others are happy because of you. The river reminds us, it does not flow into itself, the sun does not shine on itself, trees produce fruits, not to be eaten by the same trees. The law of nature is that you are more useful when you are useful to others. Let us think of what we can do to make the world a better place, what we can do to give more peace, more joy, less violence, less heartbreaks to those around us.

5. DO NOT CONCENTRATE ON PLEASURE AND WORLDLY REWARDS, rather always price the spiritual above the material. Shun violence, shun impunity, do not promote anything that brings division. Shun selfishness and be more selfless and you become joy to the world, you become a blessing to the world.

My Brothers and sisters, follow the way of Christ, which is summarized in the beatitudes: be merciful, be kind, be forgiving, be compassionate, give joy to others, do to others, and that is true celebration of Christmas, Christ who is the prince of peace.

I pray for all of you, that this Christmas and beyond, you be part of that peace, the world is yearning for, you will be a provider of peace and a giver of joy, a messenger of peace, a true builder of peace and agent of joy.

May it be so, and may God bless you as you do so, through Christ our Lord: Amen.

Happy Christmas to you all. Happy Christmas and May God bless you.

Given in Onitsha, at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, on the 15th day of December 2019.