KUWAIT CITY, Dec 24: It is celebration time once again and the Holy Family Cathedral in downtown Kuwait City welcomes the faithful like every other part of the world to witness the birth of Child Jesus who according to legend was born in a stable in the most humble of circumstances.
Braving the cold weather and seasonal rains, people thronged the Cathedral praying for peace, love and kindness in the heart of this conservative Muslim state which has always been a haven for religious tolerance.
The atmosphere at the Holy Family Cathedral was one of warmth and mixed feelings at a time when the winds of war are blowing from all directions carrying hatred for each other. The senseless wars and terrorist attacks witnessed recently in some parts of the world have made people homeless and left behind a trail of innocent victims – children, women and the elderly.
In his Christmas message His Lordship Bishop Camillo Balin, MCCJ, Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia, praised Kuwait for religious tolerance. He said, “In this time of violence we need more and more peace. The true peace is not based on weapons, which cause violence but in the conversion of the hearts. I wish that every one of us revises his/her life and sees if he/she is spreading peace or hatred, unity or division. “To divide the countries and people is against the will of God who wants that his children be united in His love. God bless all the makers of peace,” he said.
Kuwait has long been a tolerant country and as a trust of appreciation and openness to the others’ worship and a testimony of this is Kuwait’s attitude towards freedom of worship and this is summed up in the decision issued by the Interior Ministry making security of Christian places of worship around the country a top priority. During his meeting with the representatives of the churches, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Lieutenant General Suleiman Al-Fahd reiterated keenness on security and safety of Christians and their places of worship and thanked them for interacting with such efforts. The higher Kuwaiti authorities stressed that all people in Kuwait enjoy freedom of faith and of practicing religious rituals in stable conditions with tolerance, love and peaceful co-existence.
This couldn’t be possible without the support of the Al- Sabah ruling family, the government and the peace-loving citizens of this great nation. The proceedings at the Cathedral began with the singing of the ‘Silent Night’ – an occasion which gives the Christians a special feeling of belonging to the Creator.
Christmas is about the angel of the Lord proclaiming to the shepherds: “Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.”
The Christmas season brings back memories of childhood joy and celebrations. Homes all over Kuwait are decorated with lights and stars to symbolize the birth of Child Jesus — a rare but familiar sight in this part of the world. This could have not been possible without the good-hearted nature of the members of the ruling family, the government and the friendly people of Kuwait. Observed most commonly as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world the birth of Jesus is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels.
By the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on Dec 25, a date later adopted in the East also and although some churches celebrate on Dec 25 according to the older Julian calendar, which, in the Gregorian calendar, currently corresponds to Jan 7.
By Paul Francis X. Fernandes Arab Times Staff