As it is erev Hanukkah, my new 8-shek metal menora is perched on the window sill waiting for its big moment. It’s been pouring here for the last couple of days and snowing up North on the mountain tops – they’re going to open ski season this week.
And, of course, today is “The Day of Birth”, “Yom Muledet”, or better known as Christmas. I was toying with going to Bethlehem last night to get a look at midnight mass but I didn’t in the end. I honestly don’t care much for the religion or the holiday to be curious enough. I wouldn’t mind visiting Bethlehem another time to see the city from a historical point of view.
All weekend I’ve been reading articles in the English-language papers about the Christian holiday and the Christians here who celebrate it and the tourists who come and how the whole thing is on a decline.
What I will say for ‘Israeli Christmas’ is that, although you can start to see kitchy Santa Claus candy and red and green decor in some of the pop stores, and that’s probably a rising trend in the near future, well, at least many of the Christians who live and come here are serious. For them, it’s not mainly about presents. It’s about dipping in the Jordan River, a holy water source. Traveling between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, like their leader did. It’s about praying hard in historical churches and cities. If I can’t understand a lot about the religion in general, I can respect that at the very least.
Oh and of course: How amazing it is to be on the side of the majority in ’tis season! This is the first year in my 23-year-old life that I DO NOT have obnoxious jingles stuck in my head from the public radio…