A Christ­mas Greet­ing From a Mus­lim Daugh­ter

The Miracle - - Faith - By: Kari An­sari Source: www.is­lam­ic­ity.org

When I be­came a Mus­lim thir­teen years ago this month, I left be­hind the Christ­mas tra­di­tions my fam­ily cel­e­brated ev­ery year of my child­hood. My mother was able to trans­form our South­ern Cal­i­for­nia home into a Win­ter Won­der­land as soon as we walked in the door; it may have been 75 de­grees and sunny out­side, but in­side we felt we were in a Cur­rier and Ives world of red vel­vet berib­boned pine boughs, twin­kling lights and beau­ti­ful mu­sic. I loved it. The Christ­mas sea­son and our small tra­di­tions re­mained the same no mat­ter how many years passed. My mother worked ex­tremely hard to build warm, and lov­ing hol­i­day mem­o­ries, and I sin­cerely cher­ish them. Like many Amer­i­can homes, there wasn’t much Christ in my fam­ily’s Christ­mas. There would al­ways be some dis­cus­sion sur­round­ing the rea­son for our cel­e­bra­tion, but we didn’t at­tend church ser­vices or talk too much about what my par­ents be­lieved. The beau­ti­ful na­tiv­ity on the man­tle, hand-painted by my grand­mother, was flanked by taste­ful, sec­u­lar dec­o­ra­tions. This led to a kind of vague con­fu­sion be­tween the mirac­u­lous birth of Je­sus, and the mag­i­cal feat of Santa Claus zip­ping around the world in one night. Nos­tal­gia not with­stand­ing, think­ing about Christ­mas is now far more mean­ing­ful to me on a spir­i­tual level than it was when I was young. The fact that Mus­lims ac­cept and be­lieve in the vir­gin birth of Je­sus has been a golden thread that links my child- hood Christ­mas mem­o­ries to my very ful­fill­ing adult life as a Mus­lim. The world’s more than 1.5 bil­lion Mus­lims would like their Chris­tian neigh­bors to know that we be­lieve in the An­nun­ci­a­tion; in the Qu­ran we read that God sent the an­gels to Mary: “When the an­gels said: O Mary, surely God gives you good news with a Word from Him of one whose name is the Mes­siah, Je­sus, son of Mary, wor­thy of re­gard in this world and the hereafter and of those who are made near to God. And he shall speak to the peo­ple when in the cra­dle and when of old age, and he shall be one of the good ones.” Qu­ran 3:45-46 The Qu­ran has only one chap­ter named af­ter a woman; Chap­ter 19 is ti­tled “Mary”, or as it is trans­lated in Ara­bic -- Maryam. The Qu­ran tells us that the in­fant Je­sus, (or Isa as it is trans­lated in Ara­bic), spoke from Mary’s arms: “...He said: Surely I am a ser­vant of God; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet; And He has made me blessed wher­ever I may be, and He has en­joined on me prayer and char­ity so long as I live; And du­ti­ful to my mother, and He has not made me in­so­lent, un­blessed; And peace on me on the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life.’” Qu­ran 19:30-33 While Mus­lims don’t cel­e­brate Christ­mas, we be­lieve in the awe­some and mirac­u­lous birth of Je­sus, in the mir­a­cles he per­formed by God’s Grace, and in the mes­sage of love and peace Je­sus brought to the world. I hope my fam­ily knows that I am more at­tached to the ac­count of Je­sus and Mary than I ever was as a child, now that I am a prac­tic­ing Mus­lim. It is a vi­tal part of my faith; a faith that I share with over a bil­lion and a half peo­ple around the world. This is my Christ­mas card to my fam­ily, and all my Chris­tian friends and neigh­bors: Peace on earth and good­will to­ward men. Mus­lims un­der­stand this verse in ref­er­ence to the to death of Je­sus af­ter the sec­ond com­ing and res­ur­rec­tion on the Day of Judg­ment. See Qu­ran, 4:157

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