I’ve always been fascinated by nativity scenes from countries far away from my own.
I must have been 5 or 6 years old. I remember going to a nativity exhibition and staring at a Joseph wearing a colorful poncho and at a Mary wearing a floral kimono.
Christmas is often associated with home, family, celebration, and joy. Have you ever wondered how it is there, where being home for Christmas means silence, secret, even fear?
Former director of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Fr. Guido Gockel is now the Executive Vice President at CNEWA. On behalf of the organization, this Christmas he travelled to Bethlehem to represent all CNEWA donors at Christmas Midnight Mass at the Basilica of the Nativity.
The catholic magazine America asked him in a personal interview how Christmas is where all started. Where joy and celebration coexist with trying to flee a country where peace is in a state of siege. And where parents’ wish is for their children not to be home for Christmas, but to stay abroad to get a good education and be safe.
An article that appeared in The New York Times on the situation of Christians in Iraq made me think of how much we take for granted at our Christmas table and how easily we forget about less festive ones. Empty churches, spare Christmas trees, and curtailed services on Christmas Eve in Baghdad for fear of new attacks against Catholic churches. And as the most classic paradox, where the sense of Christmas seems crushed and lost, there faith regains its strength in the simple and almost heroic gesture of going to church to remember what Christmas is really all about.