Christmas is marked this year in exceptional circumstances, as it is an extension of a year that has no like and of which humanity has never experienced.
Going back to the origins of the Feast more than 2,000 years ago, we find that exceptional circumstances prevailed as well. In that year, the birth of Lord Jesus, Augustus Caesar issued a decree in Rome which provides for counting all the people of the territories that belong to the Roman Empire. Consequently Saint Joseph, the fiancé of Virgin Mary, came to Bethlehem to be registered with him and his household owing to the fact that his family was the descent from that region. Once Lord Jesus Christ was born in a small cave, King Herod became furious and ordered that the children of Bethlehem aged two years or less be killed. His decree was similar to a fatal epidemic that made homes and streets flooding with the blood of innocent children whom the Church canonized and considered them as martyrs marking a special day for them every year.
So what was the means to evade the oppression of Herod? The only solution was embarking on a plan to flee with unpredictable outcomes. So the Holy Family, namely Lord Jesus, Blessed Mary, and Saint Joseph proceeded to Egypt seeking rest and safety. The people of Egypt still mark the role played by the Holy Family in their country. They currently have a religious tourist track called Route of the Holy Family.
After 2020 years, the celebration marking the birth of Lord Jesus Christ continues despite the changing conditions and the events taking place in the world. This year is no exception. The oppression that Herod practised at that time is still being practised by the virus at this present time as it wants to stifle the joy of the Feast and the jubilant holiday atmosphere in our homeland and in the world.
The events taking place this year are stifling and stormy. Weddings are currently attended by very few people and the funerals became more gloomy and bleak. The feasts, including Easter as well as Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, were marked by lockdowns and strict public security regulations due to the spread of the disease locally and globally. Nevertheless, we say that the Feast this year is a spiritual joy, as focus in church sermons in churches and through social media networking on the importance of the feast in a people's hearts, conscience and faith.
Despite of the lockdown on Friday, this day is the day of the family members who pray together and live the atmosphere of the feast together. This may be a positive opportunity during which attention will be focused on the gathering of the members of the same household who will remember the pain and hope which the past year had brought, and look to the future with hope for a new year that brings healing, salvation and safety for all.
Lord Jesus Christ is born... Hallelujah