Christmas in NazarethPublish Date: Fri 8th Dec 2017
“In my area, people celebrate Christmas as most of the Western world does, attending Mass, exchanging gifts and enjoying meals with families.”
These are the words of Habib Karam, a member of Nazareth Circle. Celebrations commence on Christmas Eve, with the Nazareth Christmas parade, now in its 35th year. The parade is a highlight, embraced by multiple faiths, as Habib explains: “Scouts from different Christian churches, as well as Muslims, participate in the parade. Christian and Muslim clerics walk together at the front and there are floats designed by different schools and organisations. The parade is attended by people from all over Israel and Muslims, Christians and Jews line the streets to watch.”
For Habib and his family, Christmas means: “new hope and new strength for us as individuals and as a family. It provides us with the opportunity for family gatherings and a time for contemplation and prayer.”
But thoughts of those in need are never far from people’s minds.
“A group of families in our parish has for three years in a row placed Giving Christmas Trees in the Basilica and the adjacent St Joseph Church. Last year we had cards with the first name and age of 300 children from needy families in Nazareth. On the first Sunday in December, the trees are placed in the churches. After Mass, the people each take a card from a tree. On the following Sunday they bring gifts for the children with the cards attached, and place them under the trees. We gather all the gifts, sort them out, and hand them out the following week.”