Sharing the Christmas Journey Through the Eyes of Mary and Elizabeth (Part 1)

Sharing the Christmas Story with Your Muslim Friend

Muslims are often curious about the customs surrounding Christmas. Who is Santa Claus?  What is the significance of the reindeer? What is the meaning of the Christmas tree?  Why do we give gifts? Who is Jesus?  

Christmas is a wonderful, festive, joy-filled time to invite your Muslim friend to your home. My friends have enjoyed the decorations and the lights on the tree.  We have had a good time decorating Christmas cookies together.  They have listened to the Christmas story as I explained the significance of each piece of the manger scene that my Mom gave me years ago.  One of my friends read the story from the Bible with me from the gospels of Luke and Matthew in Urdu.

The story of the virgin birth of Jesus is filled with miracles, angelic appearances, fulfilled prophesies and the intimate details of the journey of the two women that God used to fulfill His purposes. These are all things that appeal to the deep spiritual interest of Muslims and make it a good place to start a conversation. Luke, in chapters 1 and 2, records the first Christmas journey that two women shared together in intimate detail. Let’s join their story as Mary is on the way to visit Elizabeth after the appearance of the Angel Gabriel changed the course of her life with his announcement…


Mary's JourneyMary is hurrying to the home of her relative Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea.  So much has happened!  An angel who said He is Gabriel had appeared to her and his words are still ringing in her ears.

“How is it possible that elderly Elizabeth who was barren is now 6 months pregnant?” She thought. The Angel Gabriel said that “with God all things are possible!”

Mary knows that Elizabeth is a righteous woman from a priestly lineage and her husband Zachariah serves in the temple. Maybe she could share her news with Elizabeth and she would understand. As she travelled from her home in Nazareth, the conversation with the angel Gabriel kept going over and over in her mind.

“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” His words troubled her. “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. “You will conceive and give birth to a son and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

His words startled and puzzled her. “How will this be since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. This was a mystery to her, but she loved God and trusted Him. She remembered her answer to the angel. “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

When Mary finally reached Elizabeth’s home and she heard Mary’s greeting, her baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Just imagine, Elizabeth recognized the presence of her Lord and the importance of Mary’s baby first, before she told Mary about her own miracle! Even in the womb, the presence of Jesus affected those who came in contact with Him powerfully!

Upon hearing Elizabeth’s words Mary burst forth in a song of praise glorifying God for the greatness of His plan and for His choice of her. What a relief that Elizabeth understood and confirmed what the angel had said!


Check out part 2!

Sharing the Christmas Journey Through the Eyes of Mary and Elizabeth (Part 2)

 

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