It is time to glaringly admit the initiation of a new phase for the Christian Iraqis marked by a promising and a bright future. It is also the time to mark the blowing of the "positive" winds of change in Iraq and the entire Middle East.
On December 16, 2020, the Iraqi parliament approved the bill which sanctions the birth of Lord Jesus Christ as a "holiday for everyone" with "annual frequency".
This is one of the early and tangible fruits of the upcoming historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Iraq, scheduled in early March 2021, which will definitely built on this achievement and further entrench the march towards a new phase of peace and common living in Iraq based on respect to all components of the society.
In his first reaction to the motion, Patriarch of Babylon and the Chaldeans and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church Louis Raphael Sako said, “ Parliament voted on our request to consider Christmas a holiday for all Iraqis”, and the motion “passed, to our great satisfaction.”
This motion further corroborates the Christian Iraqis' role and contribution to the bright future of Iraq. It, furthermore, underlines the fact that Christian Iraqis are one of the major components of the Iraqi society, and that their role in building modern Iraq cannot be ignored.
This sublime motion is a show of solidarity which is meant to curb an exodus that has decimated the Christian community in the past ten years, as well as a way to acknowledge the value and importance of a the Christian Iraqi indigenous community that has for centuries contributed actively to the development of the nation.
In reaction to this motion, local authorities in Baghdad have decked out some areas of the capital with Christmas lights and trees to show their respect for and closeness to the Christian community at this time of celebration.
In Karrada, a neighborhood on the eastern bank of the Tigris River where Christians, Shiites and Sunnis live peacefully together, the authorities has already set up a five-meter Christmas tree.
With the turnout of the year 2020, the Christian Iraqis will have to turn over a new leaf and look forward to the future with hope. They will feel that Christmas this year will be different from now on in Iraq. In this year joy will be culmianted by the upcoming Apostolic journey of Pope Francis who will breathe a new life in the peaceful process under way in Iraq, as well as boost common living and brotherly relations among the various components of the Iraq's communities.
With news emerging from Iraq that spell out good omen, it is hoped that the momentum of reform will continue and that a future state of security and stability will encourage Christian Iraqis, who had fled their country, to return to their mother homeland. It is also hoped that other world countries will follow the model adopted by Iraq and celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus, the savior of humanity, in Bethlehem.