Christian & Muslim reflections at Christmas
- Created on Thursday, 24 December 2015
The Christian Muslim Forum wishes everyone a peaceful and happy Christmas. Two friends of the Forum share their reflections.
THE CHILD AMONG US
There’s a carol that asks whether Mary knew what her child would grow to become. The theology of some modern carols can be argued, but it asks whether she knew whether her child would someday walk where angels tread.
It struck me that each one of us walk in the footsteps of angels, when we gaze into the eyes of the ones we love, when we kiss the cheek of a child, when we buy a hot drink for someone one the street, when we provide jobs for the unemployed, homes for the homeless and refuge for the desperate. Those bringing medical care, warm clothing & food, haircuts, and shelter to those camped on our doorstep in Calais – these are doing the work of angels. Angels walk amongst us every day, and yet so much of our media draws attention to a darker side of humanity.
At this time of celebrating the birth of Jesus among us, the birth of holiness, of tenderness, I remember when my own children were born; the birth was something I did alone, but there were also a host of people around me who carried my children with me, waiting in anticipation. Each one of us carries a special, holy and blessed being inside of us, created by God to love and to be loved.
Our current times are so full of fear and hatred, more than ever we need to nurture that beloved child within us, to remember the child God created us to be and comprehend the child of God in the faces our fellow humanity – whether friend or foe. As the words of the carol remind us, Love comes to make us new, to deliver us from our suffering, and calm our storms. Love opens our closed ears and enlightens our blinded sight. Will we ever know the child within and among us could do all these things?
The Revd Bonnie Evans-Hills is a Parish Priest and Interfaith Adviser to the Diocese of St Albans.
CHRISTMAS AND THE MONTH OF MILAD
Christmas is a special time of year for me, it’s an opportunity to spend time with families and friends but it’s also a time of year that I’m reminded of the idea of goodwill to all mankind. This year has been no exception! Communities have come together to support those in need not only here at home (the floods in Cumbria are a great example of this), but those escaping disasters and wars. People of all walks of life have given their skills, time and other resources to make life that much more bearable for those around them; showing them the true spirit of ‘goodwill’.
Of course Christmas also marks the birth of Christ and celebrates his arrival into this world. Muslims are familiar with the idea of marking a Prophet’s birthday; many will do this twice a year to mark the arrival of Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them both). Jesus’ arrival, and his life, has left a great example to all those who believe in him. His life embodied the meaning of love, forgiveness and true generosity. It is these lessons that Muslims will remember as many of them think of how fortunate they are to be spending time and sharing gifts with loved ones.
This year Christmas comes at the same time as the month of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday – known as the month of Milad. Throughout this month Muslims will gather to recount stories of Muhammad through song, share food and drink and give gifts to honour the tradition of giving to others. To mark the birth of two great Prophets this year calls for an even greater celebration!
Sughra Ahmed is Chair of the Islamic Society of Britain, Community & Public Affairs Specialist with the Christian Muslim Forum and works at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge.