‘Happy new month; and happy ‘ember’ months too’ are familiar greetings that usher in the periods. Some people associate the ember months (September, October, November and December) with negative incidents and that is sad. As for me, ember months are that third quarter of the year that usher in the preparation and birth of Christ. I have always loved the ember months for this reason of Christmas.
A new dawn, a good month and a renewing ember months are my concerns for this write up. It has been an eventful two quarters of the year and it is God’s grace that those of us alive now are here with cause for thanksgiving to our gracious God. Why do we give thanks when the first two quarters have taken so many lives? Well, the rest of us alive have the chance to correct the wrongs of the past. This is because it is by our own hands that we have destroyed the beautiful world the Lord made for us with our extreme measures and views of life. Our hands created weapons of destruction; our freedom has led us to licentiousness without temperance and generated fatal diseases such as AIDS and other STDs; and our attraction for what is material and temporal has caused us to drive away our Maker from our lives and thereby loosen His grip of our world that seems to be falling apart. Indeed, we force and push his fingers loose of His grip of us by denouncing Him and His laws for our own philosophies of relativism and liberalism. This is so that we can live by our fleshly and worldly dictates regardless of the consequences, rather than by His all-knowing and complete laws that guides rightly His OWN creation to a good and full life.
How do we correct these past errors? By returning to God who created our world and our lives in the first place. The only laws He gave are that we love Him above all things and our neighbor as ourselves as contained in the Decalogue. And by the power of His Holy Spirit He writes His laws in our hearts to help us to understand and to teach us how to apply these two encompassing laws. And for those who maintain firm relationship with Him, He fills with the knowledge of Himself and His will for us and the world. Life with Him is indescribably ethereal, whole and heavenly.
How do we return to God? By embracing His laws and truth. They are not difficult but are as simple as they sound only if you embrace the virtue of temperance that curbs our excesses. But because we eschew this virtue we find it hard to abstain from sex meant only for the married couples; difficult to abstain from gluttony that endangers our health; we are dissatisfied with sufficiency but cheat, steal and kill for bloody money and vain materialism; we indulge in immoralities and destroy self; we go extreme with our religious views by preaching prosperity over humility and honesty, hate over love and destruction over peace, and so confuse or mislead others, or even force them to embrace these or die. The list is endless.
For the faithful, it is not late to pray for the world because I’m sure we are not just more than ten [as could not be found in Sodom] but greater than thousands. Let us pray that we return to God and obey Him; let us give Him the reverence He deserves for He created all things [living and non-living] and let His name be hallowed again in every heart. Let us pray for world peace and for love and true understanding of these love and peace so that our God will heal our world, heal us and maintain His loving grip of our world again [because leaving us to our devices as we are forcing Him to is only leading to self-destruction evident in recent events – earthquakes by making boreholes, flood by poor drainage system, fire disasters by the thinning of the ozone layer, and other artificial disasters]. But if like the people of Nineveh in the Bible, we return to God, He will forgive us and heal us and the world again.
Let us retreat in these ember months in prayer and good life – of loving God above all and our neighbor as ourselves – and so cleanse ourselves from our wrong past mistakes and prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ on Christmas.
Dear Father in heaven, hallowed by Your Name, Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Through Christ. Amen.
By Ifeanyi O.C