O yes, ‘tis the season for my Christian friends.
As somewhat of an outsider looking in on the joys experienced by Christians at this time of the year — I say “somewhat” because as a Jew I feel a deep connection, not only because of the vast amount of scripture that we share, but also because I believe that many Christians and Jews are on a similar spiritual journey, as we yearn for the divine presence in our lives — I rejoice in their joy as they celebrate the birth of the one who brings them the gift of their salvation.
I would also like to say that this is a season of joy for us Jews as well. Not only does the holiday of Chanukah celebrate the miracle of the cruse of oil that was supposed to last for only one day, but somehow lasted for eight days, Chanukah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees against Antiochus and his army. This victory allowed the Jews to rededicate the Temple in Jerusalem, letting the Jewish faith survive and eventually give birth to its two daughter religions, Christianity and Islam.
Perhaps adding “tis the season” to every single month of the year for us Christians and Jews (while never denying the unique principles of our respective beliefs and traditions) would engage us to examine those beliefs that we have in common.
While engaging in these efforts, should we not invite and encourage our Muslim brothers and sisters to join us in the search for a better understanding and respect for each of our three faiths?
May the Christmas spirit that pervades so much of our life at this time of year, serve this year as a gateway to a better comprehension and regard for all faiths.