Spreading cheer will be harder than usual this holiday season, with the gruesome attack on The All Saints Church still fresh on everyone’s mind. Nevertheless, those that remain carry on, and attempt to heal through counting their blessings and finding comfort through each other. Some would question why Christians, and other minorities who have been marginalized and mistreated throughout our very short history continue to stay here instead of going somewhere better, where there is no danger to their lives. And the answer  is very simple. Regardless of what certain people might believe, Pakistan is their home. They have given as much — if not more-- to this homeland, their forefathers also bled for the sake of this country, and they deserve this safe haven just as much as anyone else. Sadly though, this nation is anything but safe for them.

Whether or not we choose to see it, our culture is seeped with elements, both old and new, from Christian traditions. Our oldest and most prolific schools are Catholic missionary schools, run by nuns and priests as the primary educators, our entire governmental system is derived from colonial rule, and to this day, the ‘Western’ culture that some like adhering to, which others love to hate, obviously stems a lot from the Christian way of life. Added to that is a basic humanity which makes us all able to relate to each other, which would make one wonder why there is any cause to fight at all. Yet, looking back at the 2009 Gojra riots makes us realize how far we are from harmony and stability.

But no matter what, they continue to withstand the persecution and the abuse, because the hope lingers on, that one day things will be different and Pakistan will be a country that embraces all of its people, and not just a select few. Picking up the pieces is never easy, yet it must be done, if the society is to be rebuilt. Amid the ruins of The All Saints Church, trees are being decorated and carols are being sung, in order to move past the calamity that tore the community apart. Their solidarity and bravery must be commended, and each one of us needs to join them, in times good and bad, to show them they do not stand alone, and that being a Pakistani goes beyond just what religion you associate yourself to.