The Christmas Treasure
Inside our home, it's a Christmas haven. We've put up simple decorations and there's a constant stream of Christmas music playing.
But outside our front door, every trace of Christmas disappears.
It feels like another Central Asian November, with a bit more snow. Songs like "Silver Bells" feel out of place. We walk around the market and see no holiday lights, no nativity scenes, and no trees for sale.
Here, as in other parts of the Muslim world, it's winter without Christmas. It's a bit like Bethlehem the day before Jesus was born, full of people holding onto their hopes and fears--and completely unaware of the treasure that was about to show up in their neighborhood.
Living in this yuletide vacuum is eerie, because the hope of Christmas is actually for Muslims also.
It's for Muslim men like Mansour, a hard-working friend with four kids. His newest child is only two weeks old. Mansour has horrific stories of encounters with the Taliban and life as a young child in refugee camps. But these experiences still haven't wiped the grin off his face.
Christmas is for Muslim women like Khadija, who gets up before dawn to make bread for her family. Then she goes off to clean the home of a wealthy family. When she returns home, carloads of guests from her village are waiting, expecting food, lodging, and help with medical bills. Even with two incomes, Khadija and her husband and children seldom eat meat. She worries about money constantly.
It's for intellectual Muslims like Saleem, a locally trained doctor who shows care and compassion for his patients. When we talk, he makes a forceful case for Islam and then laughs nervously about getting drunk on the weekends. Despite his full work days, he still has time to devote himself to studying English with a passion.
And it's for elderly Muslims like Jameela, who walks for miles on old feet to sell eggs and milk in the city market. Deep wrinkles line her face, like roads on a map of a life much different than my own. She has a great-granddaughter who is dying of cancer. Her family is saving up money to buy an expensive charm from a local mystic in hopes that it will heal her.
These friends are like Muslims everywhere, clinging to their hopes and fears--and unaware of the One who left the blinding glory of heaven to give us life. They have yet to welcome the gift of Jesus Christ who meets their every hope and every fear.
We've shared the Gospel with our Muslim friends, but they still do not know who He truly is or worship Him.
Yet here we are, honoring Christ where Christmas is not yet. We press on in telling them about our treasure so they can know and worship Him. How amazing that God would use us to invite Muslims to follow Jesus.
And He is also using you! You are part of bringing the Christmas treasure to Muslims. As you give and pray, future generations will thank God for the role you played in introducing them to the Savior.