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A Christmas carol
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-12-15 10:51:22
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Getting closer to Christmas I cannot avoid remembering something that happened to me a couple of years ago. A woman and a little boy were walking in front of me, they were a mother and son from Somalia and they appeared to be in high spirits, laughing and joking all the time. After a while, the son spotted a beautiful Christmas tree, fully decorated with small lights and colorful shining adornments flashing all the time, in the window of a house, “Can we have one, Mummy?”

I have no idea what the woman answered to her little son, but from the disappointment on his face I realized that the answer was negative. The more I thought about if I had seen something equally exciting, I would want it as well. It wouldn’t have mattered if it were tradition or religion, especially if I was three or four-years-old as the little boy. There are times that things don’t really make sense to me as an adult, let alone the confusion of a three-year-old being denied a fully decorated Christmas tree.

Every time I think of this picture, the Bible comes to mind; I’m not joking. I’m not religious myself, on the contrary, but I have read the Bible, like I have read a lot of other books. Actually, I am one of lucky ones that have visited Bethlehem and I assure you that I didn’t see any fir tree where Jesus was supposedly born. Accordingly, I didn’t see any fir tree anywhere in Israel or Palestine. Furthermore in the Bible, the part that mentions the birth of Christ is Luke and in his description there are angels, there are sheep, but no fir tree! So what does Christmas have to do with the Christmas tree and the decorations apart from tradition?

Do you know which country is the most decorated over Christmas with the most imaginary Santa Claus and Christmas tree decorations? It’s not Italy, Spain or Germany…it is Japan! According to the Santa Post Office in Lapland, the most letters from kids to Santa Claus come from Japan. For the ones who might don’t know the major religion in Japan, up to 95% is Shintoism.

Christmas, or the holidays if you prefer, either way the spirit is ecumenical and has nothing really to do with Christianity. The message inside Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is all about being good and remembering how it is to be a kid. I doubt if Christ had a turkey for his first birthday, actually turkey came from the Americas 15 centuries later, although not everybody seems to agree upon the exact date of Christ’s birth.

Christmas time is a reminder of being a kid, of giving happiness with a present, giving joy and love to the people around you, and it is a good chance to say a few words with people you never spoke before. Christmas is all about people; it is all about us!

Somehow I wish this woman could get over her religion barriers and see what Christmas is really about. Get a Christmas tree, decorate it with the most beautiful and shining lights, and live for two days with the joy of being a kid once again. How often do we get to share love and happiness that has nothing to do with religion, but only imagination?

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Asa2006-12-14 12:53:47
It took me four years to convince my wife to get an artificial tree rather than a real one. I really don't like real trees in the house...too spikey!

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