Fear in the Land of Jesus: a Reflection for the Christians and the Muslims on Christmas Time

Today there is the temptation to reduce Christmas to an external celebration that is not the real message of Christmas. There is also the temptation to ignore the faith differences between Christianity and Islam about Jesus. Both cases have to be properly considered. Indeed we are different in faith in this specific celebration. For the Christians, Jesus is the Emmanuel (God among us) who shares the love of the invisible God as God’s presence among us and for the Muslim Jesus is a Prophet with a great message, although there are different interpretations among Muslim sectors. What is more common today is the Christmas celebration of the Christians. This is a great responsibility, especially for the Christians because often they are not able, in this time of the history, to present the real message of Christmas. A part of the differences, Christmas is a great occasion to celebrate and share goodness among people of different cultures and religions. This is true also in the Philippines.

Unfortunately, the international issues related to the declaration of the American president about Jerusalem is disturbing the atmosphere of Christmas in the world today and especially in the land where Jesus was born. This is one of the tips of the iceberg that make this world more vulnerable and divided. Meanwhile alarming news about the climate change are becoming more visible, nations spend more money in armaments than in repairing the damage of the climate change and feeding poor people. This is also an occasion to do a more deeper reflection on Jesus’ message that goes beyond the difference between Christian and Islam Faith.

We hope that the “spirit of Christmas” helps all of us to move toward the “common good” and a positive understanding of the real spirit of Christmas that reminds to Christians the teaching of humility and love, a teaching that the Muslims can find also in the Islamic teaching and the Qur’anic invitation to “ compete in goodness” . These are some good starting points for all of us to share messages of peace to all. There is a need to remain calm and share goodness among us in spite of the martial law in Mindanao and some other problems that are circulated today like the spread of ISIS and other alarming issues.

Unfortunately, “Christmas is already a prisoner of the “philosophy of business” and this philosophy has been “emulated”, by countries and politicians who have money and use religion for their own “ideology”. All these temptations are present in our society and the war in Marawi, in Mindanao is one of the many examples that tend to increase in the world. The opposite “ideology of materialism” built in society that rejects God presence is equally dangerous . This is also alarming for all of us Muslims, Christians and people of all religions, including people who do not claim a specific faith but still believe in the basic principles of ethics that are written in the hearts of each person by God , our common creator.

Indeed, Christmas is the time to reflect in the alarming situation of the world today. Unfortunately, this alarming situations are used by politicians and other sectors of society to justify many local and international issues, forgetting human rights, international and national agreements and basic principles of goodness to protect the interest of the powerful and ignoring the clams of the powerless.
Let us remain calm and be united, listening again with the heart the message of Christmas that is “ Glory to God in the highest and peace to people on earth”. And let us believe in the power of the powerless who build peace with patience and hope.

-Silsilah Dialogue Movement-

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