The day before Christmas, as I swiped my Charm Card on the city bus, the machine screeched “$0.76. Not Enough Value.” So I tried to add money, and the machine would not take my cash. After fiddling with it for the duration of the red light, the driver, told me not to worry and to have a Merry Christmas.
Three hours, and two trains later, I reached my destination, with one more bus ride to go. I had missed it by 10 minutes—the last run for the night. A different bus stood in its place, and the driver offered to take me close to my desired destination. When he dropped me off, he wished me a Merry Christmas.
I am a recipient of holiday cheer for a holiday that I do not celebrate.
Free bus rides.
Today, I am enjoying the day off, and reflecting on the birth of Jesus Christ, as stated in the Holy Qur’an:
(3:42) And when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.
(3:43) O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow.”
(3:45) When the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah].
(3:46) He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.”
(3:47) She said, “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?” [The angel] said, “Such is Allah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.
(3:48) And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel
(3:49) And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah. And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of Allah. And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.
(3:50) And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me.
(3:51) Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is the straight path.”
The other day, an acquaintance wished me a “Merry Christmas.” I thanked her for the gesture, and explained, “I don’t celebrate Christmas, I…” She quickly attempted to correct herself, “Happy Kwanzaa!”
My smile broke into laughter, and I tried again, “I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa either…” She interjected, “Oops, Happy Holidays.”
I laughed, “I don’t have any holidays right now, but I enjoy the day off.”
Perplexed, she asked “Well, then what do you celebrate?”
After we finished laughing, we talked about Eid Al-Adha, the holiday that passed over a month ago, and commemorates the Oneness of God, as all of the prophets have submitted to Him from Adam to Jesus to Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon them all.
When we parted, I wished her a blessed time with her family. We could all benefit from more togetherness, joy, and kindness in the winter and summer alike. Merry Everyday.