All in Christian Holidays
I was born and raised in Bethlehem and I have never missed a Christmas in this special town. Christmas is dear to me for many different reasons. Despite the fact that we live under an occupation and I see land confiscated from my people regularly, despite the ongoing oppression where we are treated in discriminatory and even sub-human ways, I still have hope.
As this is my son’s first Christmas, it’s obviously very exciting for us! Thinking of how my son will grow up near the town where Christmas began makes me think of all the wonderful things about Christmas in Palestine. I know there are many more things than I can list in this post, but here are a few that come to mind during this Christmas season.
During the Christmas season, we are often busy with family and friends as we prepare for the holiday. While it’s an important time where we recall and celebrate the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ, we should also remember that the same city Jesus was born into and the Christian descendents of some of his earliest followers are today under political occupation. As you shop this holiday season, consider supporting these nonviolent and creative Palestinian Christian efforts to raise awareness and support themselves this holiday season.
Since Easter is here, I wanted to let the Western world learn about some Easter traditions that are particular to the Eastern world and the Eastern Church. Although there are many Western traditions that the Eastern world has adopted, such as egg hunting, and decorating our homes with bunnies and baskets, there are still some Easter traditions that are unique to this side of the world.
Spring is always a season of promise as cold winter winds cease and brown lands become green. For me, green has always held the promise of new life growing out of the still brown deadness of earth. This year is no exception; but even as winter fades and spring emerges, the seasons themselves are overlapping in unusual ways. One day temperatures soar and on the next we have cold rain. While this is not unusual, it’s of longer duration this year. Is this a metaphor of delayed rebirth or is it simply the result of massive unsettled global weather patterns?
For all of you who come into this holiday season with heavy burdens, Mary bears witness and her story is for you. It was her son who said, “All you who are weary and burdened, come and I will give you rest.” And he was gone. What rest and hope are left when a mother stares at the lifeless body of her eldest child?
As I write this Christmas post, my heart is heavy as I’m reminded of the millions of Iraqi/Syrian refugees that will be spending this season away from their homes and families. I’m also reminded of the Palestinian mothers who will be spending this season missing their sons/daughters who have been killed in the latest round of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
1. Dads leave the house early in the morning for a final round of last minute shopping.
This usually entails getting the forgotten ingredient for some of the dinner dishes or desserts. Most important would be to bring chocolates and dried fruits and liquor to serve all the relatives that will come to visit the days following Christmas.
Alice: Today, as I was preparing my weekly kneidlach, my wonderful, gorgeous, handsome and talented son burst through the doors with the most amazing news! My boy, oh, he could have been so much more than a carpenter-lawyer, doctor, tax collector-he's a wonderful son! Ah, but then he settled for Miriam and a small, provincial life in this one-camel town. Ah well....maybe the Grandson will amount to something.
As Christmas nears, I am tired, out of breath. Things seem so dark, hopeless and helpless. I have little encouragement to offer you this month. And I am an optimist if you compare me to most of my friends who are even more grim than I.