To not see this reminder again
People who know me well, know that I never celebrate anything. Nowadays, I am trying to practice here and there to celebrate successes, at least, a side result of „organizational behavior“ course at a business school. But I do believe in the importance of community, and the role that celebration plays. So I encourage everyone taking part in celebrations or organizing celebrations on their own as long as it is not an illogical one.
I don’t know if I was born this way, but nowadays I would rather see myself as a homeless, yet I do believe in taking part in occasional behaviors of folks I live with and to live like them up to a certain degree.
So, now that I live in Europe, here is a note for celebrating this event.
I know Switzerland is a country where people still live with their families, and even if Geneva is its second big city, Geneva has its own attitudes, and as this year and a half spent in Geneva I was busy with fixing the past, it happened that I still don’t have a family of my own …
So the Christmas eve was walking lonely in the streets of a town which are emptier than ever. Being it one of the most expensive cities in the world, I was feeling like being „the little match girl“ of Hans Christian Andersen’s short story. With a tiny difference that instead of matches, I walk down the street with a bag containing a heavily used MacBook Air trying to hand over writings, poems, short stories and to put everything short ideas … Good that the weather is not so cold, but just as that little girl, I am still having too many unfinished works in my bag, some 64 unfinished drafts for articles, a series of short essays on inequality, some 30 to 40 unfinished or half-finished poems, 5 film-scripts waiting to be written down, two totally unpublished ideas at Lost Ideas Lab and some other drafts for new ideas, by Allah’s leave and if Allah wills … So, perhaps it would take a tiny bit longer till „the child sat there, stiff and cold, holding the matches, of which one bundle was almost burned.“ but I guess the ending will be similar, that
"She wanted to warm herself," the people said. No one imagined what beautiful things she had seen, and how happily she had gone with her old grandmother into the bright New Year.
I guess „No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things“ I had tried to create [by Allah’s leave] …
Yet as it is the Christmas Day, let’s talk some happy stories:
Several times a week during my teenage years, I would read the few verses of Quran, half of which are about Jesus, his mother and his birth. As said, I wish to respect the customs of folks I live with yet living out my own self, and as said, I am not so experienced in celebrating or greetings, so wishing you a great new year or telling merry Christmas won’t be that much authentic from me. I don’t know what „Christ“ supposed to be as it is neither the God nor the Human or son of the God or perhaps other know better, how they want to define it.
My dislike in wishing you something comes from the fact that I would rather pray for you but most people get uncomfortable when I would require them doing the same for me, so I leave it and I don’t believe in luck to formulate something with luck in it. You know, I don’t like to sit there and wish something for you. Either I am interested in you and I will actively do something for you, or do something that will contribute to you having a better day, like asking the God, or you are not important for me, which case I won’t be hypocrite with formulating a sentence that doesn’t mean exactly what I feel.
So, what I came up with is to share with a brilliant record of Jesus’s birth:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Kaf. Ha. Ya. A'in. Sad. A mention of the mercy of thy Lord unto His servant Zachariah. When he cried unto his Lord a cry in secret, Saying: My Lord! Lo! the bones of me wax feeble and my head is shining with grey hair, and I have never been unblest in prayer to Thee, my Lord. Lo! I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren. Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor Who shall inherit of me and inherit (also) of the house of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, acceptable (unto Thee).
(It was said unto him): O Zachariah! Lo! We bring thee tidings of a son whose name is John; we have given the same name to none before (him).
He said: My Lord! How can I have a son when my wife is barren and I have reached infirm old age ?
He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me, even as I created thee before, when thou wast naught.
He said: My Lord! Appoint for me some token. He said: Thy token is that thou, with no bodily defect, shalt not speak unto mankind three nights.
Then he came forth unto his people from the sanctuary, and signified to them: Glorify your Lord at break of day and fall of night.
(And it was said unto his son): O John! Hold fast the Scripture. And we gave him wisdom when a child, And compassion from Our presence, and purity; and he was devout, And dutiful toward his parents. And he was not arrogant, rebellious.
Peace on him the day he was born, and the day he dieth and the day he shall be raised alive!
And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God- fearing.
He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son.
She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste ?
He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.
And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place. And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the palm-tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died ere this and had become a thing of naught, forgotten!
Then (one) cried unto her from below her, saying: Grieve not! Thy Lord hath placed a rivulet beneath thee, And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee. So eat and drink and be consoled. And if thou meetest any mortal, say: Lo! I have vowed a fast unto the Beneficent, and may not speak this day to any mortal.
Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing. sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot.
Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy ?
He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet, And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive, And (hath made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and hath not made me arrogant, unblest.
Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!
The second half of the story is not about Jesus, but I liked to add it, because as back then, in the time where those people lived, the birth of John was kind of a preparation for the folk to understand that the God can give birth to whom He wants, how He wants, so Mary’s child is the child of human being born without father to be the revelation of the God.
And I loved Mary for her wholesome belief in the God, just as all she seek help from when meeting a stranger man, is to warn him that she seeks refuge in the God.
I loved John and Jesus as they deserved such beautiful words from the God: peace on Jesus the day he was born, and the day he died, and the day he shall be raised alive.
I understand this may not be the exact interpretation in Christianity, but putting all the emphasizes on all religions aside, I guess this version of the story is one that contains some simple suggestions and how to live a life worth living, I hope these few reminders serve as an alternative Christmas greeting from the man behind Lost Ideas Lab:
Holding fast the Scripture.
And being dutiful toward one’s parents. and not arrogant, rebellious.
being eager about prayer and almsgiving so long as one remain alive,
Hope these little stories inspire you living a better life and happy Jesus’s birth