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Wednesday, May 22, 2024  
13 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

A Karachi family’s guide to celebrating Christmas

Says forgiveness, service, passion for helping others are core message of festival
How does Christian community in Pakistan celebrate Christmas?| Aaj News

Gifts to the needy. Prayers for the nation. Sharing joy and love. These are the four things that Christian families in the economic hub of Pakistan do on Christmas.

“We cannot celebrate the festival in its real spirit until we have the quality of forgiveness, service, and passion for helping others,” Yaqoob Khokhar told Aaj News on the eve of the annual festival celebrated by the community around the world.

Every year on December 25, billions of Christians celebrate the annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Although Pakistan is a Muslim dominated country, several programmes and special events are held in the country as part of the festival celebrations.

Churches and streets across the nation are decorated with festive lights and trees while bakeries offer custom cakes. Markets showcase Christmas merchandise. Worshippers gather in churches for prayer services alongside their families.

When Aaj News went to Khokhar’s house to interview him in Karachi, his children had dressed up as Santa Claus, and a Christmas tree decked with a variety of ornaments including baubles, and small bells was present in his house.

He started speaking by sharing the message of Jesus Christ: love, service, and forgiveness. Khokhar, who is a political leader, said that the day reminds the followers to apologise to those whom they have hurt in any way and make them part of their happiness. The day demands the people to end grievances, he added.

Red and white Santa outfits are some of the symbols of the festival. While sharing the history of Santa Claus, he said that he was a rich man whose name was Nicholas.

Nicholas disguised himself in this dress used to give gifts, clothes, and candies to the people in need, Khokhar said and added that he dropped presents on the doors and windows of the people while they were sleeping.

But followers said that Santa came from the sky. According to Khokhar, this culture is still followed in Europe, not much in Pakistan.

But he added that many well-off people give gifts to children in the country. He went on to add that the community members pray for the country that it always prospers.

“Jesus taught us to give food to the hungry and give clothes to the needy and who are oppressed. That’s why we do that,” he said, “everything is meaningless if our heart is not clean.”

Khokhar explained that every decorative item on the Christmas tree has its own meaning like the Star represents the Star of Bethlehem which guided the Three Wise Men to the stable where Jesus was born.

The day holds special importance for the family, as he said: “In our prayers, we seek our forgiveness for our sins and our mistakes. We cut cakes and exchange foods, especially sweet dishes. We give Eidis.”

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