When I was a kid in school in the States, I saw all my Christian friends writing letters to Santa Claus. For a kid my age, I understood why my family did not put Christmas trees in their homes and why we were not shopping for Christmas presents for each other. I got that, but hey, I wasn’t about to sit there and watch everyone in my third grade elementary class write letters to Santa, who may or may not be real.
So, I wrote a letter to Santa. At first, recalling all of this, I forgot what I had put in that letter, but now, while writing this, I’m remembering bits and pieces. I asked for a computer with Internet. [The Internet was a relatively ‘new’ thing]. I also drew a picture of Santa in the letter and colored it. I put it outside the door of my house, and to my [eight-year-old] dismay, I woke up, and it was still there.
I am smiling at my laptop screen as I remember this. It was so fun being a kid. You get things like ‘write letters to Santa’ or ‘let’s have a Halloween party’. Now, you get ‘have this project done by the end of the break’. Why, sweet teachers, why?
This is the holiday season. It is the season where most people around the world are off for winter break and celebrating with families. My winterbreak is not much of a winter break really. I have to go back to college to finish the semester, then I take finals, then I’m off for a good eight days, and then second semester starts. This is definitely not the winter break I had in mind for this winter, but hey, what can we do? Everything happens for a reason, right? Maybe my university will get its deal together next year.
On the day of Christmas Eve, a group of my friends and I went to Bethlehem to watch the Christmas festivities. I had went during this time of the year to Bethlehem in 2010. It was my first time ever in Bethlehem. I have to say, going back there once again brought back many memories. I was happy to go back once again to somehow how those memories surface up again so clearly on the ride back to Ramallah. Bethlehem is beautiful during this time of the year, and the spirit there is just splendid.
One thing I do no like about this season are the statuses I see on Facebook. People post things like “Why is everyone saying ‘Merry Christmas’? It’s not our holiday.” They may be right on that count, but what is Christmas? The day Jesus was born. Last time I checked, we [Muslims] believe in Prophet Issa [Jesus]. Whether we believe in the date or not, shouldn’t the fact that a prophet was born be celebrated, or at least, smiled at?
Are we not all humans? Respect. Respect. Respect. That is all it takes. We can learn to respect one another.
As a Muslim, I wish all of my Christian friends a Merry Christmas!
“It’s the wonderful time of the year!” (Sing along!)