‘Ember month’. The Nigeria Nemesis.
The Ember month syndrome hangs over the typical Nigerian Christian like the proverbial sword of Damocles signalling an unknown but impending doom.
It is that time of the year again, where the use of anointing oil has become essential, where calls keep coming from Motherland asking if you have anointed yourself before leaving the house, where you have to pray and bless the bike man before boarding, where holy water is used to sprinkle the four corners of your house to avert evil from the spiritual realm. It is believed to be the period when Satan embarks on in-gathering of souls by causing mysterious deaths, accidents, calamities and catastrophes. Therefore lots of prayer and fasting, vigils and crusades are organised to frustrate the “plans” of Satan and enemies who do not want them to see the New Year. Sigh!!!
The mythical aura these months attract has continued to stir apprehension year in, year out. The reality, however, is that the ‘ember’ months are not really spiritually jinxed as many might want to believe they are. Tragedy occurs in ‘ember’ months just as it does in every other month of the year. Ascribing spiritual and mythical undertones to tragic happenings during the ‘ember’ months is just the Nigerian way of building mountains out of a molehill.
There is actually an explainable reason for this phenomenon.
It can be said that the ‘ember months’ are a period of holidaying, there is usually an increase in public, private and corporate activities during this period. Religious bodies are equally not left out of the frenzy of the season as various events such as crusades, harvests, concerts are organized during this period, and these events usually require lots of movement on the roads. The hike in the number of festivities observed during the ‘ember’ months, thus makes the roads busier than any other time of the year.
It is only logical that when there is a mass of people from one place to the other at the same time, there is bound to be a measure of uncertainty and disorder which results in the fatalities we see happening.
Going beyond travelling, a lot of people are also under intense financial pressure to celebrate the festive season in style, many want to travel to their homestead to show off their progress for the year. This mindset of celebrating Christmas at all costs gives sharp escalations to all manner of illegitimate schemes and activities to have a grand celebration. Some end up taking up arms to steal, rob unsuspecting victims, kidnapping to extort money, rituals to make fast money, the snatching of cars on the highway, the ambushing of travellers, which makes the ‘ember season’ more prone to calamities and bringing an upsurge in criminal activities in the country.
Therefore, It is safe to say that the tragic happenings allegedly attributed to the ember months are human-made and not some fetish myth originally believed.
As a Christian, what does this season mean to you?
There is enough evil everyday but God keeps his own as long as they receive that safety by faith. The Bible justifies this in Matt 6:34 – Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. God asks us not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough issues in itself.
As a Christian, it is imperative for everyone to, first and foremost, have a changed perception of the ‘ember’ months. We have no business in attaching evil to specific months as bad things happen every other month so we need to start praying for safety right from the beginning of the year.
We should bear in mind that God owns all seasons. The Bible has promised us safety in Psalm 91 despite the ‘pestilences’ and we should key into its promises and uphold it by faith that we are covered as children of God.
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
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