Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Tree

"....I am like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year."  Hosea 14:8b

Ushering me into their bedroom Jamal and Afsana surprised me. Coming from Afghanistan I did not expect to see a decorated Christmas tree in their home. It could have been they were nervous they would receive condemnation from their community if their tree was in full sight so they placed it in their bedroom. They asked to have their picture taken beside it. The tree remained there for months. It is not the first Christmas tree I have seen hidden away in a bedroom.

Many Muslims seem to have strong feelings about Christmas trees. While some love them like Jamal and Afsana others condemn them strongly. This week I attended a party in a hotel where there was a large number of Muslims present. Beautifully decorated and lighted trees stood in the corners of the large room. Half way through the program the trees' lights were turned off. I never knew Christmas trees could speak so strongly!

Whenever I visit in a Muslim home which has a Christmas tree, whether hidden away or in full view, I know spiritual conversations will probably flow easily and naturally because some Islamic barriers have come down. I look over the tree ornaments carefully. Insights are gathered. Not only does a Christmas tree "speak" but the selection of ornaments may tell us something significant about our friends, too.  Sometimes there is a star or an angel on the top and I will remark about the meaning of that. Recently I was in a wealthy nominal Muslim home and admired their beautifully decorated tree. The spiritual conversation that flowed in my two hour visit was phenomenal. Certainly putting up a Christmas tree is a strong indicator that our Muslim friends are “searching their way” through religion and culture. The Holy Spirit gives us signs to reveal where they are at. I suspect that the trend of adopting long standing Christmas customs and traditions will continue to evolve in greater measure among Muslims living in the west in the coming years. Why not give your Muslim friend who puts up a tree an ornament which has a special spiritual meaning to it? One Christmas I gave many of my Muslim friends an ornament that said God is Love

No picture can adequately describe our majestic God but we are given some ideas of what He is like. In the above verse God is likened to a tree that is always green meaning there is true Life in Him. If a decorated and lighted Christmas tree can help point to that truth, hallelujah!  He is the Father of all lights, too. I do not want to miss any opportunity to let a Christmas tree point to some very special truths.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you that there is Life and Light in you and that many earthly things help point to those truths.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.