Clerics in Lagos yesterday Christians not to commercialise Christmas either by increasing cost of goods or transport fares. In separate interviews, the clerics said it was time for Christians to understand the lessons from Jesus and reflect on them.
Bishop Francis Oke, the National Vice President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (South West), in a statement, said that the essence of Christmas was that God, in love, sent Jesus Christ to humanity from sin.
"Whatever we do at this season and any other season must be done with the fear of God. When we do this, we would have realised the essence of why Christ came to the world to die for our sins", he said.
The Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Ola Makinde, said Christmas had been abused and commercialised, adding that there were so much emphasis on commerce.
"The essence of Christmas is sacrifice, humility and self-sacrifice. It is a time of giving; it is a time of offering succour.
"Today, we have commercialised the occasion as the rich use the season to oppress the poor. It is a time when we should visit people in prisons and the less-privileged and let them feel the impact of Christmas. It is a time for giving rather than receiving.
"We should spiritualise the season. The festivities that go with it are part of the celebration.
"Commercial drivers should not use the occasion to hike transport fares, which is not the spirit of Christmas. We should be moderate in whatever we do at this period," Makinde said.
According to Rev. Fr. Mike Umoh, Director, Centre for Media Development, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, the essence of Christmas is the celebration of hope, which is fulfilled at Easter.
Just like every good thing, Christmas has suffered a fatal blow; it has lost its essence. We seem to pursue shadows; we are more concerned about industrialists turning out their products because they want to make more money during this period," he said.