A Christmas Card from Muslims

‘Tis the season for sending and receiving Christmas and holiday cards from family and friends. I’m always grateful for those who remember my family and me with a card. But this year, I opened one of the most unusual and touching Christmas cards I have ever gotten. It’s from the Islamic Education Center in Potomac, MD. A few of my other clergy colleagues reported getting this same card.
Islamic Christmas CardHere’s the front of the card.
The inside of the card reads:

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 partake in Christmas celebrations, 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 into the world.”

The Islamic Education Center

How unusual is that? I think it was a beautiful expression.

Undoubtedly, some cynics would spin this as some kind of devious underhanded ploy. But for what? To convert me? I hardly think one card will do that. To place Islam in a more positive light? What’s wrong with that? Islamic extremism has colored Islam so negatively in the eyes of many. Outreaches like this would only help reclaim Islam from the bad publicity of extremism. Are they trying to draw me into conversation? Well, what’s wrong with that? Perhaps if we had more open-ended conversations, there would be fewer misunderstandings and tensions between our two communities.

I’m taking this card for what I believe it is. It’s a neighborly, thoughtful way of reaching out and honoring another faith community’s most sacred times of the year. I got to learn some more about Islam and receive a wonderful blessing from an Islamic community.

So what am I going to do about it? I’m going to acknowledge and thank them. Potomac is not right around the corner from me, but if they invite me to some conversation and ecumenical dialogue, I would be very open to that. Perhaps if more of this kind of thing happens, the heavenly pronouncement of

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)

at the birth of Jesus would become more of a reality. My Muslim neighbors rightly pointed out that Jesus came to bring the peace and love of God.

Shouldn’t Christ’s living body, his Church, be the preeminent, living example of the same?


Filed under Christmas and Holidays, Cultural Trends, Judaism and Other Religions

2 Responses to A Christmas Card from Muslims

  1. What a lovely gesture. We tend to only hear the negative side of Islam. It’s nice to know these people reached out to you in this simple way. Perhaps if we had more friendly dialogue, more of them could come to know the full Truth of who Jesus is.

  2. Pamela Graham

    Pastor, I have to challenge you to study the religion of Islam carefully. I realize this will sound ungracious and paranoid, but your reaction to this card is exactly what the Islamic Education Centre was planning and hoping for. Of course there are many well-meaning, wonderful people in Islam. However if you look into the religion a tad further (I had to as I was teaching a high school course on it) you will find that they allow and even condone any falsehoods, exaggerations, or duplicitous actions that promote Islam and cause others to see it in a good light. It’s a bit of a stretch for us in our culture and mindset to comprehend, but world take-over by Islam is completely the goal and aim. Even though this card may have been sent by someone who doesn’t really understand this fact themselves, it is still the case. Enjoy and appreciate the gesture, but (and I say this with humility and care) — Keep your eyes wide open.

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