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This Christmas–Is there Peace on Earth?

posted on: Dec 20, 2023


As the Christmas season approaches, we find ourselves facing the unfortunate reality of ongoing conflicts, with the war in Gaza casting a somber shadow over the festivities. In the midst of this global celebration, the question arises: Is there truly peace on Earth? This question holds a deep and touching meaning, particularly when considering the struggles faced by those in regions like Gaza, where the harsh realities of conflict persist. How, then, are we to celebrate Christmas in the face of such adversity?

Celebrations Amidst Sorrow:

However, this Christmas, the sentiments for many are bittersweet. People feel a reluctance to engage in the traditional festivities, and this reluctance is not just a passing mood but a deep-seated respect for those who have tragically lost their lives in Gaza. In the historic city of Bethlehem, where the echoes of Christmas have resonated through the centuries, a significant decision has been made to cancel the usual celebratory events. The once-vibrant decorations that covered the streets have been carefully taken down, and the lively parades that animated the atmosphere have fallen into an unusual silence.

In Bethlehem, a place that holds profound significance for the Christian community, the absence of the usual celebrations is not just a matter of canceled events; it symbolizes a much broader and sobering reality of life in the Holy Land. The decision to stop the customary festivities is an important acknowledgment of the struggles and challenges faced by communities in conflict zones, serving as a reflection of the collective mourning for those affected by the ongoing turmoil.

Some Are Celebrating:

Yet, amidst the sorrow, there are those who choose to celebrate Christmas in a different light—by giving back. Recognizing the season as a time for generosity and compassion, individuals are channeling their celebrations toward helping those in need. Whether through donations or engagement with NGOs, the emphasis is on the spirit of giving. Some also chose to celebrate by engaging in activism. Mixing activism with tradition is a great way to get people’s attention while also embracing the holiday traditions. Christmas, for these individuals, extends beyond the exchange of gifts and becomes a means of contributing to the well-being of the less fortunate.

Another way some choose to celebrate is through prayer. Regardless of religious affiliations, many find solace in the act of praying for peace. Christmas, being a religious holiday, provides an opportunity to reconnect with spiritual roots and direct positive energy toward the ongoing struggles faced by our Palestinian brothers and sisters. In a world grappling with conflict, the power of collective prayer is seen as a unifying force that transcends borders and beliefs.

Celebrating tradition is also a way to find joy during these challenging times. Some choose to embrace the holiday spirit by adhering to longstanding customs and adding new dimensions to the celebration. One such approach is by incorporating Palestinian elements into the festivities, such as serving traditional Palestinian cuisine or supporting Palestinian-owned businesses. By intertwining tradition with a commitment to solidarity, individuals seek to bring a sense of warmth and connection to the holiday season.


As we think about celebrating Christmas amid the ongoing war in Gaza, we see a stark contrast. The cancellation of festivities in Bethlehem and the overall solemn mood remind us of the tough times faced by communities in conflict areas. Yet, the strength and kindness shown by those who celebrate by giving back, praying, and keeping traditions alive tell a story of enduring hope and humanity.

This Christmas, as we enjoy our gatherings and gift exchanges, let’s not forget those enduring celebrations marked by conflict’s shadows. By recognizing their challenges, we can unite in a common goal—a shared commitment to peace on Earth that goes beyond borders and embodies the true spirit of the season.

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