And the angel said to them [shepherds], Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:10-14).
Many Christians, therefore, celebrate Christmas for Jesus Christ’s coming to release humanity from sin, hatred, hostility and establish peace and unity among them. In His entire mission on earth, Jesus did not teach hatred or war, but instead asked His followers to love and bless even their enemies, because nothing can change the heart of an enemy except for God’s Love. Who, other than Jesus, could change the heart of a fundamental Muslim like me, whose overriding focus was to spread the intolerance and hostility of Islam? For this reason, Jesus is called the ‘Prince of Peace’ and ‘worthy of praise’ in the Bible. And for this reason, an astonishing enthusiasm and reception is growing among Muslims and other non-Christians for the Gospel message of Christmas, even in the midst of relatives and friends who have sought to take the Name of Christ out of the Christmas season in the West. How wonderful and amazing is the love of Jesus, who approaches even His enemies with absolute and unconditional love!
Opponents of Christ, who have been doing their utmost to oppose His Birthday celebration, have not always succeeded in their attempts. They have not only been torturing our hearts but their own hearts also, as many of their own children and followers discovered the true message of Christ’s birth - nothing but peace and joy, and withdrew from their false accusations and joined Jesus. There are many Iranian Muslims in Iran who love to celebrate Christmas and even have Christmas trees in their homes, a practice that entered the culture from the time of the ousted Shah of Iran who was very open to western cultural traditions. People have been forbidden to celebrate Christmas since the Islamic Republic of Iran considers it a crime. Despite this hostility, thousands of Iranians have been giving their hearts to Christ each year and celebrating His presence. We have heard many of them say, “Every day is a Christmas day for us. Some of us have become homeless for the sake of Christ and do not have a home for a Christmas tree and to celebrate Jesus’ birth openly. But every tree we see daily speaks of the glory of Christ and is a Christmas tree for us. Our Christmas gift to our children is the Cross we carry in our hearts for Christ and for our fellow citizens.”
What a powerful testimony of Christmas from the land of cruel beliefs and leaders! This will touch the heart of Christ and the hearts of His heavenly hosts so deeply. This loving sacrifice and enduring testimony will bring the tower of cruelty down in their lands. It is just a matter of time. They will see it because they are patient and have given all judgment to the Son of God. Their proclamation is the proclamation of the Bible that says:
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be on His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. There is no end of the increase of His government and peace on the throne of David, and on His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will do this (Isaiah 9: 6-7).
In the worst of times, their Master Jesus has comforted them. He is with them to bear their burden when they undergo persecution (2 Corinthians 4:9), and become the source of their joy when they grieve (2 Corinthians 6:10), because the Son of God was born to give them courage in this intolerant and cruel world (John 16:33) and lead them into perfection. Therefore, these children of Peace are called to love their enemies (Matthew 5:44), as Love is the only motivating source for true and lasting peace. The birth of Christ was to establish this everlasting love on earth.