THE months of November and December are used by churches to give thanksgiving. The essence is to thank God for the economic activities of the year since He is the keeper of life and custodian of agricultural resources in the world.
People see the period as an opportunity to give generously to churches for the upliftment of facilities in the church.
The people also use it as time to give assorted gifts to the ministers for efforts in their spiritual lives. In some denominations like Catholic and Anglican churches, there is what is called Bazaar, where the material things given in the church are auctioned to the highest bidders.
This strategy earn the religious organizations substantial amounts of revenue to execute facilities needed for the progress of the organization.
Speaking to the National Light, Mrs. Ngozi Okafor expressed joy over the thanksgiving and Bazaar period, saying that she used to save money monthly for the thanksgiving to appreciate God for what He has been doing for her from January to the end-of-the-year. “I prefer to buy a bag of rice for the thanksgiving but now that the cost of a bag of rice is high, I may decide to buy tubers of yams”.
Michael Chibuike, a civil servant, believes that the season of thanksgiving service is a Christian event at the end of every year.
“This is an opportunity to demonstrate gratitude to God for preserving one’s life and well – being for the year. When someone is granted gifts of any kind, first of all, he would make a prayer request to God and it is natural that such beneficiary should show a sign of gratitude and may be moved. Thanksgiving as a concept is an act of appreciating what one has merited or unmerited, received in the period of November and December months yearly”.
Chibuike still maintained that this last quarter of the year is widely known as strategic months which individuals, families, groups and so on set aside for showcasing the innumerable works of God on them and may decide to buy materials, gifts or money to thank God. Chibuike observed that in some countries, they set-aside this period for Christians and Non-Christians to incline to God and gather what they have as gifts and bazaar in appreciation to God.
Ugochukwu C Okoye, Administrative Officer to wife of the governor of Anambra State, confirmed that thanksgiving has religious colouration of reverence by a Christian to have time to examine all the good works God has done to his life and family.
“Many Christian denominations usually fix this occasion toward the-end-of-the-year through the series of thanksgiving, ranging from the first thanksgiving to general harvest and bazaar. During thanksgiving, every devoted Christian normally set-out some percentages of their wealth or produce to give it to God Almighty in remembrance of His kind protection for the period depending on what the person has in mind or for specific act he wants to thank God for. All manner of wealth are presented in the presence of God in the Church for thanksgiving by all the denominations to mark the event of thanksgiving. The Priest and other lay people of the church make arrangements how to collect these gifts and sell them in the church by auction to raise revenue for payment of church workers, maintenance of the church building and projects, charity, as the church may requires. It is through this process that most of the magnificent edifices in churches are built in cities and communities .
A Catholic Priest, Fr. Blaise Ejikeme, from St Thomas Aquinas, Awka, described Christmas as season of love, and that in the first instance, we celebrate the infinite love of God, fulfilling his promise of salvation.
He opined that, in any case, as we commemorate the incarnation during the Christmas season, we should thank God for the great mystery of our salvation. “It is true that the greatest mystery of human salvation is the paschal mystery of Christ celebrated at Easter, yet the yuletide falls within the last month of the year. Hence it becomes equally a period of thanksgiving for leading his people safely to the end year. As such, individuals, families, associations, institutions, etc use this time to do special thanksgiving. We thank God for his guidance, mercies, graces , favours and blessing, and that is the way we equally ask for his continuous blessings in the coming year.
In New Life Winners Church, Pastor Emmanuel Ezeike highly recommended this period as a season of celebration for God’s protective care and for gift of life through the cause of the year. “It is a time we party in the lord with our gifts and offer willingly and joyfully. It is a season that individuals, families of different parts of the churches are meant to be happy.