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.

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