By Taliyah Emory Muhammed '19
If you haven’t noticed that one of my last names is ‘Muhammad,’ I’m going to point out that I’m Muslim. In Islam, there is no December holiday in which people give gifts to each other that would denote a jolly time of year. Despite that, I’ve never felt left out or forgotten during the holiday season at NCS. I personally think that the Christmas tree that occupies a large portion of the Junior Lounge is pretty. I feel just as happy as everyone else, but for other reasons.
I know the popular Christmas songs such as “Jingle Bells,” “Last Christmas,” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” but I’m not as familiar with the more religious songs. In our Christmas chapel, I listen to the Christmas hymns, and sometimes I hum during more recognizable hymns such as “Silent Night.” I usually don’t sing if I don’t know the hymn from other year-round chapel services.
This year I went to Lessons and Carols for the first time since eighth grade. I usually don’t go to Lessons and Carols because ever since 2015, there has been the premiere of a Star Wars movie on the same night.
This year, since Lessons and Carols was on a Friday instead of on Thursday, my friends encouraged me to go. At first the service seemed like a super long, over-crowded joint-cathedral service. When the whole Cathedral started reciting the Lord’s Prayer I was startled because I had spaced out during the previous reading. I thought it sounded kind of cool because everyone knew the prayer and even though not everyone knew each other, it was as though everyone agreed with each other about something. All of the songs shared a joyful, peaceful, and beautiful tone that made me happy in the moment.
In Islam, the most notable holiday that we have is Ramadan. It focuses on personal humility, selflessness, and spreading peace throughout the community. The holiday is a month long and the majority of it consists of fasting during the day, and spending time with our families at night.. In principle, we don’t focus much on material goods because the mere fact of being alive and having the power to help others gives purpose to our lives year-round.
So, you can say that other people’s happiness makes me happy, which is probably why I enjoy this time of year just as much as everyone else.