The Islamic narrative of Jesus’ birth can anchor the well-known Christian one and reminds us that the Quran places Jesus and Mary beneath a “Christmas tree.”
American Muslims Celebrating Christmas. Photo courtesy: qz.com
When I was growing up, I always wanted a Christmas tree in our family home but unfortunately for me, this was an idea my parents staunchly resisted. Once, I even offered to make a homemade one but my parents wouldn’t entertain the idea because “we were Muslim.”
We weren’t very strict Muslims, but we were practicing, and a Christmas tree was seen as a contradiction to our religious values back then. I wasn’t alone either; most of my Muslim friends have a similar story to tell. Fast forward years later, and the same parents are now gifting Christmas presents to their grandchildren.
…Although the “Christmas spirit” can be everywhere, the origins are not in a department store or in snowy Lapland, Finland. The origins are in the Middle East, a place with an ongoing horror story in dire need of the world’s humanitarian assistance. Maybe if Christmas wasn’t so devoid of this identity then my own Muslim parents wouldn’t have seen it solely as a Western cultural celebration, as unrelated to their Muslim background.
Religious literacy of Quranic narratives can help reduce a blindness amongst Muslims around commonalities that we share with others. This can enhance an openness to positively share Islam in a way that is relevant and can bring a fresh perspective to interfaith dialogue and bridge building.
The Islamic narrative of Jesus’ birth can anchor the well-known Christian one and reminds us that the Quran places Jesus and Mary beneath a “Christmas tree.” They are described in the Quran as a “token” or a “sign” for all peoples, so perhaps their embodiment of love and peace for all are Christmas presents to the world.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
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