Thousands throng churches for Mass
Braving the cold winter weather, people prayed for peace in the heart of this conservative Muslim State — a haven for religious tolerance as thousands of Christians Saturday attended the annual Christmas Eve Mass to commemorate the birth of Infant Jesus — a festive season spreading over a week.
For some it is a month-long festival that starts with the Advent on the Sunday next to November 26 and ends on January 6 with the feast of the Epiphany. The Holy Family Cathedral in downtown Kuwait City was packed to capacity with people occupied every little place available until the faithful spilled into the church courtyard and some even on the outside of it.
This year’s festival bore a somber mood, especially because of the drums of war which are heard in the distant land where people are being butchered, maimed, made homeless and even driven out of their homeland seeking refuge elsewhere against their will. This season of joy and celebrations brings back memories of childhood.
It connects to the days of being at school and spending time with family during the Christmas holidays and this is made possible by the religious tolerance in the State of Kuwait in the midst of a very conservative society.
The religious tolerance is vivid in Kuwait where Catholic families are freely allowed to hang stars on their balconies to symbolize the birth of Child Jesus, which is a rare sight in this part of the world. Thanks to the Al-Sabah ruling family and the citizens of this country — the country that has been rightfully chosen as the Humanitarian Center and its leader His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah the Humanitarian Leader by the world community — the country that is a haven for religious freedom.
This year has been very special for Christians because some Kuwaitis have even called for declaring Christmas Day as a public holiday, and yet others have called for putting a big Christmas tree in the heart of Kuwait City at the Safat Square. The proposal was made to allow Christians to mark the occasion and for people to exchange gifts and peace and love greetings on the occasion. There are around 200 Kuwaiti Christians, along with hundreds of thousands of foreign Christians in the country who take part in the solemnity of the occasion across several major churches without any problems.
The atmosphere at the Holy Family Cathedral was one of warmth and happy feeling and an occasion to spread good cheer and celebrate our love with family, friends and fellow human. “Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord,” says a quote from Luke 2:10- 11.
The proceedings began with the singing of the ‘Silent Night’ — an occasion which gives Christians a special feeling of belonging to the Creator. Observed most commonly as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world the birth of Jesus is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels and by the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on Dec 25, a date later adopted in the East and although some churches celebrate on Dec 25 of the older Julian calendar, which, in the Gregorian calendar, currently corresponds to Jan 7.
Source: Arab Times