First up = happy birthdays to Adam (on the 11th) and Keegan (19th). It was great to hear your voices! Keegan turned 25, and Adam was 23.
Well it's Christmas...again. Now last year you may remember I dissed Christmas and was taken apart by various people for my lack of joyous spirit. So I won't be doing that again!!
Let me paint you a picture of Christmas in an islamic country. It's a different experience, let me tell you. Qatar is a relatively liberal country and so you can buy fake Christmas trees here (we have one to prove it) and they do have a 'meet Santa' opportunity for the ex-pat kids in the larger malls, along with fake snow grottoes and elves. You can also buy Christmas wrapping paper at inflated prices (30 Qatari Riyal which is about $NZ15) and again - only in the malls. I'd have to say that's the extent of festive things though.
For the general population Christmas, of course, does not exist. While Muslims believe in one true God (Allah) and they acknowledge the prophets (one of whom was called Jesus) - they do not acknowledge that God could have a son - no one is an equal to God - therefore Jesus's birth is not a cause for celebration as it is in the west.
For Warren, Jacky and Jade of Qatar though, Christmas surely does exist. December 25 is a Friday - therefore I will have Christmas and boxing day off work. We have bought each other presents that are under the tree and our thoughts naturally turn to our whanau who are spread throughout the world map. A giant gap that I am struggling with this year is, of course, my dad's absence. We are planning our phone calls home and I can't call him. But he is always with me - Happy Christmas dad.
And Eid Milad Majeed (Merry Christmas) to you all too - the near and the far, the old and the young. We hope you have a great time and hope that you can spare a thought for us too, as you tuck into that extra helping of Christmas pudding with lashings of custard and cream.
As salam alaykum, Alaykum as salam (May peace be upon you and upon you peace)
Love and crissie crackers - W