LearnArabicwith Us!Start Learning!
Today is December 24th, a very special day in the Christian calendar المسيحيون, for today, Jesus (يسوع المسيح) the savior (المخلص) was born.
This holiday is one of the most anticipated holidays throughout the year. During this time, all family members gather under the Christmas tree (شجرة عيد الميلاد) to share gifts (هدايا) and laughs, the joyful spirit is spread all around, bad blood is forgotten, all hate and hostility dissolves and all bad deeds are forgiven. It is a time for celebration and forgiveness (مسامحة). What makes this holiday so special is that it is celebrated by Christians as well as Muslims (المسلمون), who share with their counterparts the joy of this holiday.
Christmas (عيد الميلاد) is the most busy and important time of the year. In Lebanon a competition (منافسة) is put forth every year by the Union of Lebanese Municipalities (إتحاد بلديات لبنان), to elect the most beautiful Christmas tree. So every city or village puts up a huge Christmas tree with twinkling lights and decoration (زينة), one that all the villagers can gather around and sing Christmas songs.
Furthermore, social gatherings reach their peak during this time, as friends (الأصدقاء) and family members (أفراد العائلة) we haven’t seen all year come back home to enjoy the celebration with their families and friends and make most of their vacation. The Lebanese people are famed their love of life (حب الحياة) and spontaneity, so this holiday is just another excuse for us to go out, have fun and participate in spreading joy and merriment wherever we go, either by singing Christmas carols (أغاني ميلادية) in the car on our way to a party, or dressing up like Santa clause and hand out presents to the less fortunate so they can enjoy Christmas as much as we do and do not feel left out.
In fact, Christmas time is bitter sweet time for the Christians, Christian Lebanese to be exact, for Jesus was born in the small town of Bethlehem (بيت لحم), Jerusalem (القدس) in the neighboring occupied land of Palestine (فلسطين المحتلة), known to foreigners as “Israel”, and since Lebanon has always been an advocate for the Palestinian Cause, all Lebanese nationals, no matter their religion, are forbidden to cross the border -the only ones allowed to cross over are nuns (راهبات) and priests (رجال الدين)- Which makes our pilgrimage an impossible journey that will never be fulfilled.
Christmas is time of joy and forgiveness, so I will pray that we may all find it in our hearts to forgive the people we care about who have caused us harm, friends or family. I will pray that we realize that some people are struggling to have the things we take for granted. Finally, I wish we can behave with such compassion and forgiveness each day of the year, and not only on Christmas Eve.
To all Transparent readers, may you all have a very merry Christmas!