CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM THE GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE (GCBC) TO THE PEOPLE OF GHANA
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace, on earth, to those whom
God loves.” Luke 2: 14
Dear people of Ghana, once again Christmas is here with us and we rejoice for
having been blessed to celebrate this wonderful season. In spite of some
challenges that we have faced as a people, we still have every cause to rejoice
and be glad for the many graces the Lord has bestowed on us throughout the
Christmas remains one of the world’s biggest celebrations because it is all about
Jesus Christ, God who has accepted to become man so that we can be saved.
The circumstances surrounding Jesus’s birth continue to invite us to a life of
simplicity and modesty and not a life of affluence. It also reminds us that, it is
only in humility that we can access Christ in our lives. For He who to whom
heaven and earth belonged, searched in vain for a place to be born. There was
no room for the one who became the ‘Inn’ for every homeless heart in the
Christmas is the culmination of God’s self-communication to the world. It is
God’s assurance to humanity that we are not alone in our struggles, but that
Christ is part of us and so understands our human conditions.
For us Christians, Christ is the Prince of Peace spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah
(Isaiah (9:6). At Christ’s birth, the angels spoke of peace: “Glory to God in the
highest, and peace, on earth, to those whom God loves.” (Lk. 2:14). The peace
which the Prince of Peace brings far exceeds the peace the world gives. In the
Gospel of John, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not
as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14:27). This peace leaves no room for
people to rejoice while others remain sad. It is a deep-seated peace that seeks
forgiveness and never thinks of being vindictive towards one another. Let us
therefore as Ghanaians build a family that transcends political divisions as well
as religious and ethnic boundaries. Our various cultural differences should
serve as means of enriching us and not dividing us on any front, whether
religious, political or ethnic.
Christmas is a mystery of love, the greatest manifestation of God’s love for us.
The love of the Father, who has sent into the world His only-begotten Son, to
bestow on us the gift of His own life (cf. 1 John 4:8-9). Let us as part of
Christmas celebrations extend this love to the marginalized and the less privileged
in our society: prisoners, street children, mad people, widows,
orphans, poorest of the poor etc. We would be glad if this gesture would be
extended even beyond the season Christmas.
The Lord has been gracious to us as a Nation, especially this year. Little did
most people believe that the just ended presidential and parliamentary
elections would be successful and peaceful as it was. This is because the preelections
period was characterized by a campaign of violence, threats and
insults. God has listened to the many prayers offered by Ghanaians and granted
us one of the most peaceful, credible and successful elections witnessed as a
Nation. This achievement has made us all very proud as Ghanaians.
We therefore congratulate all Ghanaians for cooperating with the Grace of God
for the peaceful and successful elections. We are thankful once again to the
Electoral Commission and all other stakeholders who in diverse ways helped
for the conduct of peaceful, very credible, transparent, free and fair elections.
There is no gift greater than the gift of peace, given to us as a nation. We must
however, continue to sustain this gift as we go through this period of transition.
We must not as a nation yield to mistrust, suspicion and false accusations. We
appeal to all men and women of goodwill to outlaw all forms of intolerance and
discrimination, be committed to the transition process as we look forward to a
smooth and transparent transfer of power to the incoming government.
We have every good reason to be joyful for how far the Lord has brought us and
we join the Psalmist in saying “How can we repay the Lord for all His
goodness to us” Psalm 116:12. May God’s name be praised forever!
Let us therefore use this season of Christmas as a time of reconciliation. We
appeal to all people who are still bitter as a result of the outcome of the elections
to let go. One of the hallmarks of Christmas is forgiveness. We are all
encouraged as a country to forgive one another for the wrongs we have
committed against each other. Let this season be a time of healing and
restoration for all broken relationships.
At this Christmas, let us rededicate our country Ghana to Christ the Prince of
Peace that we may continue to live in His peace, the kind of peace that the world
cannot give, an inner peace that gives us a sense of security wherever we find
ourselves. Let us all bear in mind that the most beautiful of Christmas joys is
the joy of inner peace.
May Christ, whose birthday we are about to celebrate, fill our hearts with
exceeding joy, and make us united in love. May his light drive away the shadows
of error and sin in our lives and may we experience at this Christmas the gift of
To all Ghanaians, we wish you a Happy Christmas and a Grace-filled New Year.
Most Rev. Philip Naameh
Archbishop of Tamale and
President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference
MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2016