Jesus Christ was born around 4 BC in Bethlehem. The Nativity Scene is recreated by ardent Christians every year. It's an affirmation of their faith.

'' And she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living space.''

The Gospels do not indulge in historical details. None are needed by the believers.

''For some of our most important beliefs, we have no evidence at all, except that people we love and trust hold those beliefs.

Considering how little we know, the confidence we have in our beliefs is preposterous - and it also essential.'' 

The secularisation and commercialisation of religious holidays paves way for Christmas to be celebrated across the globe despite an increase in the number of agnostics and atheists.

For many, it's more than faith or remembering the birth of Jesus Christ. It's about taking a vacation. It's about making a donation to your favorite charity. It's about families getting together and exchanging gifts.

It's about watching Tom Hanks' Polar Express with your kids or the Nutcracker at a theatre in your town. It's about playing board games and listening to classics like Dean Martin's ''Let it Snow! Let it Snow!'' or Bing Crosby's ''I'll be home for Christmas''.

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, is also celebrated in December. If Serendipity is what makes us a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu, reason dictates that we respect each other's faith equally so much so that we keep our laws and our education absolutely secular.

To quote Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan : ''You are free : you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan.

You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the State.''

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! And a very Happy New Year!

The World Students Society thanks Dr Baqar Hasnain. The author takes interest in humanism and futurology. He has an MS from Houston and DDS from Nashville, Tennessee.


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