December 26, 2007

On the second day of Christmas

Too busy with cooking, baking and family gatherings to post before Christmas, I hope you all had a wonderful and joyful Christmas. 

I've also very much enjoyed the many best wishes and special Christmas links that so many bloggers have posted.

Since I believe in celebrating all twelve days of Christmas, at least through the New Year,  I have for you a few little gifts that you may have overlooked in the rush to get ready for the first day of Christmas.

First,  An Arabic Christmas Carol (Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity) with gorgeous images from  Syria, Egypt and Bethlehem you've never seen before.


Today, is born of a virgin, He who holds the whole creation in his hand
He whose essence none can touch is bound in swaddling clothes as a Child
God, who in the beginning established the heavens, lies in a manger.

An Arabic Christmas Carol was written in response to the The Hymn by Chaldean Catholic Priest-Martyr  which you'll find on YouTube.

I'm pleased that so many Iraqi Christians packed the churches for Christmas Mass, which would have been unthinkable just a year ago.

"Last year was the year of misery, desperation and sadness,  But this year is better. So many people attend the Mass and you can see that their praying was joyful."

Many Muslims joined Christians in celebrating this most joyful day with the newly installed Roman Catholic Cardinal Delly, patriarch of Iraq's ancient Chaldean Church who said during the service

"Iraq is like a garden and its beauty is the variety of its flowers and scent,"

Among those attending were several Shiite Muslim sheiks, including Raad Tamimi, who said they had come "in solidarity with our Christian brothers . . . to plant the seed of love again in the new Iraq." Tamimi, a tribal leader, was excited to shake the cardinal's hand and asked that a photo be taken with his cellphone.

Jameel Hamouda, 55, who attended the Christmas services, said four of his family members had left Iraq, but that he was hopeful they would return.

"This is the first time the Muslim figures like sheiks and Shiite clerics attended the Mass," Hamouda said. "I feel happy and my soul filled with peace. God willing, there will be a union."

In this video, the beautiful Majida Al Roumi sings Silent Night in English, Arabic & French, but you have to turn the volume way up.

Surprisingly, the day after Christmas is celebrated in the Catholic Church as the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the young Church. 

Gil Bailie says that more Christians have been killed in the past 100 years than the sum total killed in all the years since Jesus Christ was born some 2000 years ago.

Sadly, many of the Catholics in the Mid East face persecution.  The war in Iraq and follow-on extremist violence  of some Muslim extremists made many more Christians martyrs and caused tens, if not hundreds  of thousands to flee the country for Syria and Jordan  and only now, after the surge, are some beginning to return;

And in the Holy Land, most of the Christians have fled Bethlehem and Gaza's Christians, Living in Fear

So this Christmas, it's good news that writing from prison, Sayyed Imam al-Sharif, one of Al Qaeda's senior theologians, is calling on his followers to end their military jihad.

Posted by Jill Fallon at December 26, 2007 8:25 AM | Permalink