Christmas greetings to all our readers

Sent On: 
Sat, 2022-12-24
Newsletter Number: 

Christmas is celebrated in many places and cultures around the world. Many people who celebrate it do so for religious reasons, while for others it is mainly a cultural or family holiday. For religious believers, Christians and Muslims, Christmas signifies the birth of Jesus. Both Christians and Muslims believe in the virgin birth. Both Christians and Muslims hold Jesus in high esteem and believe he came with a powerful message of hope for the world. The Christmas tree has become common for many middle- and upper-class Muslims in large cities like Cairo and Alexandria.


The period between Western Christmas (December 25) and Coptic Christmas (January 7) is in Egypt also a period that practically all schools and universities are closed. Egypt decided during the days of President Ḥusnī Mubārak to make Coptic Orthodox Christmas on January 7 a national holiday. This has continued during successive presidencies after the Mubārak era and appears unique for a Muslim-majority country. While Muslims do not have a specific date to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it nevertheless shows respect for the importance of this day for Egyptian Christians. It is common for Muslims to congratulate Christians at Christmas as Christians do with Muslims on their holidays.


While Christians and Muslims maintain some important beliefs about Jesus in common, the world around us, including Christians and Muslims, reveals to us many sad divisions as well.  Media reminds us on an almost daily basis of divisions between Christians and Muslims and between secular and religious people. Divisions seem to be part and parcel of our humanity. In fact, many of our divisions seem all too human. Most Christians believe Jesus is the son of God while Muslims see him as a great prophet. This is the result of different teachings in the Bible and Qur’an that believers receive as the word of God. In intercultural and interreligious dialogue, we attempt to give attention to both those things that divide us and those beliefs we hold in common with others. It is distorting to focus exclusively on one or the other.


At Dialogue Across Borders, we offer our warmest Christmas greetings to all our readers. Thank you for your support as we continue the work of dialogue. Whether you are Christian or Muslim or non-religious, we hope this holiday season is a positive one for you.



Cornelis Hulsman

Senior Advisor

Centre for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation


December 24, 2022