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Merry Christmas from Phoenix Unified Surgeons!

Christmas is a holiday celebrated by millions of people around the world on December 25th. It commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, and is often associated with traditions such as exchanging gifts, decorating trees, singing carols, and attending church services. However, Christmas is not only a Christian celebration, but also a cultural phenomenon that has been influenced by and adapted to different religions and regions.


One of the religions that has a connection to Christmas is Judaism. Although Jews do not celebrate the birth of Jesus, they do observe a festival called Hanukkah, which usually falls around the same time as Christmas. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, a group of Jewish rebels, over the oppressive Greek Syrian rulers in the second century BCE. The main symbol of Hanukkah is the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum that represents the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days in the Temple of Jerusalem.


Another religion that has a relation to Christmas is Islam. Muslims do not celebrate the birth of Jesus either, but they do recognize him as one of the prophets of God and honor his teachings. In fact, Jesus is mentioned more often in the Quran than Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Muslims also celebrate a festival called Eid al-Adha, which coincides with the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj. Eid al-Adha commemorates the willingness of Abraham, a common ancestor of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, to sacrifice his son Ishmael for God.

Yet another religion that has a relation to Christmas is Sikhism. Sikhs do not follow Jesus as their guru, but they do acknowledge him as a saint and a holy person. Sikhs also have their own festival around the same time as Christmas, called Guru Nanak Gurpurab. Guru Nanak Gurpurab marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh gurus. The main symbol of Guru Nanak Gurpurab is the Nishan Sahib, a triangular flag that represents the sovereignty and unity of the Sikh community.


Christmas, therefore, is a holiday that can be seen from different perspectives and celebrated in diverse ways. It is a time to revisit the wisdom of love, compassion, and justice within this wonderful country we call the United States, as well as pray for peace throughout the world. Common to all these religions are the people: the parents, the children, the extended families, our treasured friends – all of us simply desire love and peace.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Eid Mubarak, and Guru Nanak Gurpurab to all!


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