” So how did you like Nazareth?”
” I had to stay in the bag. How do you think I liked it?” Pomi folded his cardigan.
” You could have come out.”
” The crowds would have crushed me.” My little crochet guy made a dramatic gesture.
“Why were there so many people?” he asked.
” Nazareth is a very famous city. Tourists come there all year round and at Christmas it is especially crowded. Many come to visit the Christmas market.”
” That was not a Christmas market. It was a regular market, with a few foldable trees here and a couple of Santa hats there. Nothing like the Christmas markets in Germany.”
” I don’t think you can compare that.”
“All those people wearing Santa hats, some even with braids. A bit like carnival, if you ask me.
I liked the churches though, and the nativity scenes. But why was there no baby Jesus in the Church of the Annunciation? It is the largest Catholic church in the Middle East and they did not have a baby Jesus in their nativity scene?”
” Some people wait until Christmas Eve before they put the baby Jesus into the manger scene.” I explained.
” You could have let me jump into the crib and play baby Jesus. Why did you have to spoil the fun?”
” I did not want anyone to feel offended by you clambering around there.”
” Offended? Why? I think I would have made a pretty cute baby Jesus. In a green cardigan.” Pomi giggled.
” You are impossible.” I smiled at my crocheted creation.
” Why don’t we have a tree? I want a Christmas tree.”
” We don’t celebrate Christmas.”
” So we can’t have a tree? Only those who celebrate Christmas can have a pretty tree? There was a beautiful Christmas tree in the Synagogue Church.”
” That’s different. But a Christmas tree is part of the Christmas celebrations. In some Jewish homes you may find a Hanukkah bush which looks very much like a Christmas tree. Everyone can have a tree, decorate it and call it whatever they want but the majority of people who decorate trees in December are Christians and the tree is part of how they celebrate Christmas. ”
” Whose idea was it? The tree I mean? ” Pomi looked at me.
” Long before the birth of Christ there were people who decorated their homes with evergreens like holly, mistletoe or olive branches, as symbols of life. For Celtic druids for example, they were also a sign of hope.”
” Hope for what?”
” Hope to make it through the winter maybe, hope for the sun to return.”
” Hope to make it through the winter? I can see why. I am very happy I’ve made it this far. I got really close to drowning last week.”
” You did not! Do not exaggerate, my little darling.”
” I did too, and I am not exaggerating. I need a tree, full of hope.”
” People who do not celebrate Christmas might take offense should they see it because for them a decorated tree is a symbol of Christianity and they may not want to have anything to do with it.”
” They don’t have to. It is going to be my tree and I will decorate it with good intentions. Something to bring a bit of light into the dark season. Nobody seemed to have a problem with the trees in Nazareth.”
” The people who would have a problem with it do not go to Nazareth to visit the Christmas market.”
” It sounds complicated. Whoever gets offended by another person’s need for comfort will have to look the other way or not look at all, in fact I hope you will not invite such people into our home.”
And with that my little crochet guy got up and started rummaging around the house for a while. Then there was silence.
After a couple of hours Pomi shouted: “Come and have a look!” I hurried up the stairs, walked into my work room and … burst out laughing.
” Merry Christmas!” Pomi grinned.
Merry Christmas indeed!