It's Christmas time! Many countries around this world share this one moment in celebrating this special occasion; buying presents to give to the people they care for and share the presence with the people they love. As much as the reality tries to divide people by propaganda, war and tragedy, we have alot of similarity between faiths and cultures. Having to live in western and middle eastern countries, I realize we are much more similar in the joy of Christmas and New year than we think we usually are. When I lived in the Middle East, the locals held massive plans for these holidays with parties, dinners and shopping festivals and also spent it with people they knew. We may remind ourselves that these Middle Eastern countries have their own set of religious celebrations but there is one thing that some cultural and non-Christian countrieshave that ther rest don't do; and that is having holidays also for occasions for Christians in addition to the dominated religion of the citizens .
From my own experiences assimilating in the Iraqi community so far, I know many Iraqis of Muslim background who share this wonderful time of Christmas for the sake of it, not because of hiding religious differences. Its the pleasure and excitement of putting up a christmas lights and small simple christmas tree even though it may not be as good quality and good looking as Christian families' trees ;)
I have to say that Christmas has become so commercial in coincidence with New Year. Dont let these commercial priorities take over the real meaning of Christmas. Many countries unlike NZ are much more hectic as Christmas gets closer to the present time but for this country, Christmas has become a rather quiet and more peaceful time where families spend their summery Christmas on vacations rather than panicking on what to shop for presents. Many people of cultural background have their way of celebrating christmas and that's what makes it unique on how one spends the time during this period. What problem is there to apreciate one's self in correspondence to religious diversity? Being part of a Muslim community, we have organised to spend Christmas day on the coast beach for a barbeque and to me, it does not matter what Im celebrating as long as I can freely act upon my own religious priorities peacefully in addition. So I hope many of us have good plans set out for Christmas, New year's resolution and to enjoy the time during this holiday.