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Home » Columns » It’s Christmas time again

It’s Christmas time again

Publishing Date : 25 December, 2017

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM



So here we are again, just after this weekend our Christian brothers and sisters will be celebrating Christmas. For Christians, it is a season of love, peace and goodwill to mankind, a time for joyous celebration, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ (pbuh). Many will be spending their time and days with their loved ones and families in this season of goodwill.    


For many too this is an enjoyable time of year because Christmas means the time for Santa, toys for children, gifts, trees with flashing Xmas lights,, carols and of course overflowing plates of food, presents and of course some people taking the ‘celebrations’ too far by overindulging in drinking and partying.


This column would like to take this opportunity to send this message of goodwill and blessing to all those who will be celebrating this occasion. Muslims also believe in Jesus (Isa) (pbuh) as one of the great prophets of the Lord. Muslims believe in the Divine Revealed Scriptures of the Torah (Moses) The Zaboor (Psalms of David), the Injeel (Good News to Jesus Christ) and the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon them all). However we do not ‘celebrate or commemorate’ what is known as the birth of Christ.


The Qur’an says: ‘…..We Muslims believe in Allah, and the Revelations given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them. And we submit to Allah’ (Qur’an 2:136). We however respect that Jesus was one of the greatest Prophets of the Lord.


It is regrettable that many people see the Christmas as an open season to overindulge in so many ways. The true meaning and spirit of Christmas seems to have been forgotten by them. What was once the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ (pbuh), a season of peace and goodwill to mankind, a time for joyous celebration; has now become so ‘commercialised’ and it is now taken as a season for fun and over indulgence.


It is true that there are many devout Christians who still respect and follow the true spirit of Christmas, unfortunately in these times there are many who seem to have forgotten it’s true meaning and have turned it into a ‘festival of merry making, drunkenness, fun and anything goes’. These people must take time to reflect at the Christmas celebrations and the spirit that they represent and celebrate.  


Sadly it is noticeable these days that many people do not attend church services and prayers marking this special day on the Christian calendar. In the past churches would be overflowing for the mass and service. To those errant people we can only hope that they see the true spirit of Christmas and ensure that it is a time for reflection and of celebration in a true manner and spirit. We must admit that many of us are Blessed and have been showered with additional blessings as compared to other people who have little or nothing. For those poor and needy these ‘celebrations’ are no different from their regular lifestyles of scraping for a living.


Maybe this Christmas people should start looking at life from a slightly different angle – let us pause to look around and see how many people in the world do not have the same blessings as we have been blessed with. Some do not have the basics such as food, shelter or even loved ones to share this time with. There are many orphans in Botswana, think about them and what you can do to make a difference to their lives.  


No matter how you celebrate Christmas, there is a lesson to be learnt here and it applies to all of us; this lesson is timeless and is about the spirit of giving and receiving. We know that Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, so let us make an effort to remember those less fortunate than ourselves, bring peace to the world, a time for families to end their quarrels and come together, a time to celebrate as Christians celebrate the birth of Christ (pbuh). We know all these things, and we know that this also is the essence of the true spirit of Christmas.
Those of us who are Blessed should reflect and look a little deeper on what can one do to ease the plight of the needy, the lonely, the disheartened and the lonely.

Here is a simple lesson that we could develop and follow to learn from this the month. Let us start by looking at ourselves, why can’t we commit ourselves to be more friendly, kind, humble, sincere, show respect, courtesy and compassion for others, to be helpful, honest and truthful or maybe more charitable. Let us ask ourselves when we last gave our time to someone we didn't know very well. Ask yourself how it felt, or if you have never done it, ask yourself why.


Spend some time reflecting how easy it is to give a Pula for a good cause. Give some thought to how much more difficult it is to give a minute of your time. Each day, when you wake up, no matter how difficult it might be for you, think of someone you know who might be missing you or in need of a minute of your time, call them, or pay them a visit. There are many sad and lonely people out there, wondering where the true spirit of Christmas is your best gift is to show them. This will be a gift for them and a gift for you too.


Our best gift to others, and the best gift we can give to ourselves, is to pay attention, to listen to the voice of God, and to give ourselves to others. Even if it is only for a short amount of time, it is that time again, a time to take time for others. Talk with community members, greet and smile at people, even those you don’t know. It will change many peoples outlook including yours.  


Someone once wrote: Here are Christmas gift suggestions; to your enemy, forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart, to a customer, service; to all, charity; to every child, a good example; to yourself, respect. And also: Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every New Year find you a better person. To all readers, may you have a Blessed Christmas, filled with happiness and joy – and the Blessings and mercies of the Almighty Be upon you and your loved ones. Let this be a safe and peaceful Christmas.

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