President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to Nigerians to embrace peace and pray for unity and progress of the country as they celebrate the yuletide season.
Jonathan made the appeal yesterday, during a Christmas carol service held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, saying the celebration of the season is something done both by Christians and non-Christians alike.
Making biblical allusions to the life and times of David, who was a warrior king that fought all through his lifetime, the president said when the Israelis were told that a new king will succeed him they expected that Jesus will be belligerent, but he came to them with a new message.
"He came to them with a message of peace. Let us embrace peace. Nigeria will progress and advance if we do that," he said, emphasising that as a government "we are totally committed to transforming the lot of the country."
He pledged that: "As we progress you will see changes. With prayers of Christians and other religions 2013 will be a better year for us," he added as he wished Nigerians a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
In a Christmas message, the Bishop of Ogbia Diocese, Hon James Oruwari, who summarised the seven biblical lessons read by the President, the First Lady, the Senate President, David Mark and others, urged Christians in the country to love their arch enemies.
He said: "You should show practical and pragmatic love to your neighbour in reciprocation of the message of Jesus. God will manifest himself to Nigeria. We should show love to our enemies. The only way to celebrate Jesus is to obey him."
"The year 2013 is a peculiar year but God is looking at us to see what we can do. God says it is not by might nor by power but by my spirit," Oruwari concluded praying that "God should defend us from our enemies as we pledged total obeisance to Him. It shall be well with our souls, community, states and leaders.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerenmadu, described the occasion as 'impressive and commendable', pointing out that "the Bible recommends that we should we should give thanks and praise to God. Praise is the renewal of faith."
On the myriad of problems being faced by the country, Ekwerenmadu said "nothing is beyond God."
He said: "Despite our efforts to solve our problems as human beings, without God it is not possible. I believe with determination, unity and with God on our side we'll overcome our challenges as a nation."