Officially, Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas. At the end of December, the usual sights and sounds of Christmas—trees, decorations, carols, gifts and festive dinners—are absent in Muslim lands. Muslims are skeptical of such Western traditions and the alcohol drinking that is often part of them. However, we have observed that many of our Muslim neighbors are quite open-minded about Christmas celebrations.
In our town of Kandi, though many Muslim leaders forbid taking part in Christmas celebrations because they believe it has connotations of idolatry, many Muslim parents have decided not to stop their children from taking part in our Christmas gift distribution. Over the years we have been hosting this Christmas program, more and more children have been coming.
The parents seem to see our Christmas program as religiously non-threatening, and we try to encourage this perception. As the pastor, I keep a low profile and let others lead out in the gift distribution. This way, both Christian and Muslim children are able to share an evening of joy, and our credibility and good will in the community increases. The relationships we build become avenues for the Holy Spirit to touch hearts and build God’s kingdom.
Thanks for your prayers and support.