Lights blinking everywhere, stores filled to the brim with items on top of items. Houses are filled with gifts under the tree and wallets getting lighter by the second. The smell of peppermint tea and hot chocolate in the cozy winter nights. “‘Tis the season to be jolly!”
Christmas and December have now almost become synonyms. Yes, it is true that only Christians celebrate Christmas, but consumerism has made it a nationwide phenomenon. But would Jesus (peace be on him) himself celebrate Christmas like us?
Jesus Christ is a figure present in all three Abrahamic religions. He was born a Jew to Virgin Mary. His earliest followers were Jews. He said he had come to gather the lost sheep of Israelites. However, Judaism does not accept him to be the Messiah whereas, Islam, the third Abrahamic religion, agrees with Christianity that Jesus Christ was sent as the Messiah and Prophet of the time. Jesus (“Isa” in the Arabic language) is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an many times, so much so that his mention is recorded as more than that of the Holy Prophet Muhammad of Islam himself. An entire chapter is dedicated to the story of the Virgin Mary (Maryam, chapter 19) and Jesus. Now the question arises that if Islam and Christianity both agree on the birth of Jesus Christ from the Virgin Mary and agree on him being the messiah of the time, then why don’t they celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ?
Not only has Christmas become a phenomenon that swallows up money out of rich and poor, but it is also not the birthday of Jesus Christ. Most Christians agree with the fact that Jesus Christ was not born in December. It is known by many that he was born in the summertime. The Holy Qur’an states that Mary gave birth to Jesus in the months when dates were available, meaning the summer months (19:26). In the Bible, Luke says, “And there were shepherds in the same country (Judea) abiding in the field, keeping watch by night over their flocks” (Luke 2:7-8). This can only be in the summertime as the winters are too cold to be spent outdoors. Since no one really knows the exact date of Jesus Christ’s birth, it is said that December 25 was picked by Roman emperors as the day they would celebrate.
Christmas nowadays has more so become a time to give gifts and get the family together rather than the celebration of Jesus’s birth. In Islam, the thought and deed of giving gifts and spreading happiness is appreciated very much. However, we should not fall in the trap of commercialism and go bankrupt trying to get the best and biggest gift out there. We, Christian, Muslim, or Jew, should always remember how Jesus lived a minimalist and righteous life and spent it to serve his people.
This December, let’s remember that helping others is the spirit of the true teachings of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!