Coming from an uber-commercial, industrialized mostly Christian nation, it’s always a bit bizarre being in Holy Land Central around this time of year. Here we are a mere week and a half away from Christmas and at least from where I sit, there isn’t a clue.
No shopping, no adverts, no lights, no trees, no ornaments, no caroling, no office parties, no egg nogg, no peppermint sticks, no shopping mall mob scenes, no Santas to be photographed with.
I, personally, don’t mind seeing as I didn’t grow up celebrating the holiday. I sort of vicariously, half partook one year while visiting the in-laws in Denmark but mostly it was peering from the side while they joined hands to dance around the tree and then ripping open my presents and pouncing on the ginger cookies.
Tonny, my husband, gets up to Jerusalem on a regular basis and says he hasn’t seen anything up there either but then he isn’t traipsing over to Manger Square to pet the barn animals, either.
It’s a bit odd, when you think about it, especially considering that J.C. was a regular around these parts…I’m told that in Bethlehem and other Christian enclaves like Ramallah and Nazareth, there are fairy lights to be seen. What with my current pneumonia bout, however, I won’t be traveling to either of those places to check out the scene.
All these years, I was certain relief would follow the escape from Christmas madness. But perhaps rote habit has created this feeling of, not exactly longing, just a sense of finding the missing glim and glam…odd.