Archive for December, 2011

A Muslim Christmas Carol

I read this on a friend’s blog who has lived in Djibouti (slightly irrelevant tangent: when I was in 6th grade I loved saying, “Djibouti”). I love the post for lots of reasons. First of all, she is a follower of Jesus who also loves Muslims. Second, she sees the good that comes from living in different cultures. Third, she takes seriously learing about another person’s faith. Fourth, this post made me really grateful that Jesus, the son of Mary, came down at Christmas time.

On Sunday we sang the Christmas carol ‘What Child is This?’ I am writing about Mary in the Quran for a project and have done months of research on the Islamic view of Mary, or Maryam. Something that has come up repeatedly is one of the titles for Jesus as ‘Jesus the son of Mary’. Isa ibn Maryam.

I don’t hear either Mary or Jesus referred to that way very often among Christians but it occurs thirteen times in the Quran and the phrase ‘Jesus, the Messiah, the son of Mary’ is used three times.

This is the only song I can think of that sings about Jesus, the son of Mary. Also, Jesus is referred to in both the Quran and the Bible as the Word of God which appears in verse two of this carol.

So when we sang the song on Sunday, I couldn’t help but think that it sounded like a Muslim Christmas song. I’m not saying it is one, or that my Muslim friends would necessarily agree with everything in the song, but it made me think about them, made me think about Djibouti.

And, for the first time since being back this year, I felt a pang in my chest because I miss them. I miss the way Djibouti helps me think and live outside the box of shopping malls and inside deeper realities than fast food restaurants. So I’m posting the lyrics as a reminder of the one who also left one world to live in another for a time, in honor of the one who ached for his eternal home.

1. What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

2. Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good people, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

3. So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

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I’m Back (I Think)

It has been a very long time since I posted. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I would post again. Getting out of the blogging habit has made it really hard to start up again. I’m not even sure if there are still any readers left!

Many of you know that we live in Syria. I had stopped blogging because there was a period of about 2 months when I had almost no internet connection (it was sporadic and very weak). After the connection got better I was just so busy with things here and trying to figure what we should do that the less important parts of my life (i.e blogging) got overlooked. After about 4 months or so, I had apparently loss my desire to blog. I didn’t even really think about it anymore (which is a serious handicap for generating new posts). Time just kept going and I stayed logged out (so to speak).

A few have commented or wrote to me wondering why I stopped and encouraged me to write again. That got me thinking again about the worth of a blog like mine. I still think it can have a valuable role in the whole issue of peace between Muslims and Christians and that it can bring honor to God by pointing towards his path of peace, namely, the Prince of Peace. I still want to help Christians and Muslims better understand one another and grow in being good neighbors to each other.

So, I’ve begun again. Things are still pretty unsettled here so I can’t make any promises about how frequently I’ll post, but perhaps this initial re-entry will spur me on for future posts.

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