I am Muslim, but was raised in the Christian traditions. We celebrated Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. However, my parents never taught me the Santa Claus, Easter Bunny lies because we were Pentecostal.
Each year since accepting Islam I struggled with how to ‘’be’’ with my family during this season of excess and hyper-capitalism and gluttony. The only good I saw in it was the time off work and time spent with family. But their celebration made me sad.
This year my youngest nephew (on my side of the family) reached 18 and is a college student. The tradition had to evolve. But it had to do so without my direct involvement.
This year no one was up at the crack of dawn opening gifts around the tree. The family went to the movies and took my uncle with them who lives in a nursing home. They’ll see my dad tomorrow and it’s more relaxed. They’ll open modest gifts and I sent money only for my part of the gifts to our parents.
I know that most Christians don’t believe, any more, that December 25th is the actual birthday of Jesus, The Christ. I am encouraged by the number who have studied and adjusted their practices based on that study.
I am glad that my family no longer feels that my absence today is greater than my absence any other day. I wish I lived closer or had the means to travel there more. I wish I was there every Sunday for a family dinner. But I’m so very happy that I don’t feel bad about missing today and my family doesn't feel bad that I’m missing today.
I expect to be there for another happy day on our own terms for our own reasons.