Hey! It’s my birthday!

December 31, 2008

I know I hear about Christians who are mistreated and abused in Iraq – but we also read about an equal response like this.  Don

Hey! It’s my birthday!

By Ken Joseph Jr.

WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD (ANS) — Walking the streets of Washington DC leading up to Christmas, I have come across a most interesting phenomenon.  Nowhere, and I mean absolutely nowhere, is Jesus to be found! It is truly amazing!

Extensive Christmas decorations are everywhere, in the stores, on the streets, wherever you turn it is Christmas!

I started to talking to people and asking them the simple question, “Isn’t Christmas celebrating the birthday of Jesus?”

The answers I got were quite amazing.

Literally everybody I talked to, paused and said, “You know; you’re right! It is supposed to be His birthday. What happened to Jesus?”

Imagine if you had a birthday. Your friends all came over, they partied, they ate, they exchanged presents and everybody acted if you didn’t even exist.

Well, after a few minutes of that, you would stand up and say, “Hey! It’s my birthday!”

As I began to talk to people, dozens of them, I started to get angry. No matter what faith, creed, color – and you can find just about anything in Washington – they agreed. It just wasn’t right!

Christmas, celebrating the birthday of Jesus and amazingly there appears to be a very studied attempt to completely ignore Him.

Well, contrast that to Baghdad. I am an Assyrian Christian and my family is originally from the Iraqi village of Mahmoudia in Northern Iraq.

I was there during Saddam’s time and remember the sheer terror that reigned 24 hours a day. The constant fear that you could be hauled off by one of his “goons” and never seen again.

Well in Iraq thanks to our failed policies the poor Iraqis have not learned yet that you are supposed to ignore Jesus on Christmas.

Sponsored by the Iraqi Government — no separation of Church and State here — there was a special Christmas Celebration in downtown Baghdad.

Guess what was the main attraction? A huge Christmas tree topped by a Star? A massive Santa Claus? Fake snow?

Nope! They had a huge picture of… you got it, Jesus!

There it was! A huge, beautifully painted color painting of Jesus, the center of the Christmas celebration!

Iraqi Government spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf took it all one step further when he announced on behalf of the Iraqi Government, “All Iraqis are Christians today.”

Did I miss something?

No, I didn’t.

After meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, on behalf of the Assyrian Christians, I paused and said, “Prime Minister, would you mind if I prayed for you?”

He beamed, ordered all his beefy, confused security guards who were surrounding us, to bow their heads and we had a wonderful time of prayer.

Meeting later with Iraqi President Talabani on the same subject, I asked the question again. This time he pointed to his chest and said, “I just had surgery on my heart – pray here!”

I thought to myself what kind of a reception I would get on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, or a dozen other Government Agencies, after a meeting, if I asked, “Would you mind if I prayed for you?”

A cold silence? Mass panic? A straight “no” – with a couple exceptions.

Well, Washington, and all of us this Christmas can learn something from the poor, politically incorrect Iraqis.

By the way, if Iraq is doing so bad, why is it that I can’t seem to book my ticket to get back there, as there are no open seats!

As every Iraqi Government says so proudly they have been “liberated”` and now celebrate Christmas the way it should be with a huge picture of Jesus whose birthday Christmas is!

May God bless them all and may He call us back to our senses before it is too late.

Of all times in the middle of an economic crisis it is not the time to make the birthday guest upset!

Christmas is the birthday of Jesus and the Iraqis got it right – put Him up front and center! The Iraqis at least know that much! They need Him and all the blessings they can get!

Ken Joseph Jr., who was born in Japan, heads up www.assyrianchristians.com and has written weekly columns in the Asahi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun and currently writes in The Japan Times. He regularly comments on Social Affairs for CNN/Fox TV, BBC, ITN, ABC and in Japan for TV Asahi, NHK, TBS, NTV and others.

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