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Sharing the Joy of Christmas with Muslim Friends



Christmas is around the corner! You may be wondering about inviting your Muslim friend, classmate, refugee, or neighbor to a holiday meal or gathering. Holidays provide a perfect occasion to invite your Muslim friends to your home to taste traditional food and enjoy the festivities. Time around the table provides an opportunity to explain the difference between American cultural practices and the true meaning of Christmas. They may be confused about Santa Claus and reindeers! Muslims believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and that He is a prophet, but they do not understand that Jesus is God in the flesh who came to take away the sin of the world.


As a Host

Opening your home to guests from another country might be daunting at first. What should I serve? Will they like my food? Will I offend them? Muslim’s view meat as halal (clean or allowed) or haram (unclean or forbidden) according to the way it is slaughtered. They do not eat pork or pork products such as lard or gelatin (that includes marshmallows!). Explain what is in the food so they will know if they can eat it or not. Don’t be offended if they do not taste all the food. Eastern politeness demands that you refuse food or drink that is offered at least three times, so it is normal to refuse the first offer.


If you pray before your meal, say “It is our custom to pray in the name of Jesus to ask God's blessing on our food.” Ask God to bless your guests as well. Muslims often offer thanks to Allah after a meal is finished. They will appreciate your desire to honor God.


Pets

Generally, Muslims consider dogs unclean, so put your pets away when guests come to visit. Always serve something to drink and eat when a guest arrives, even for an unexpected visit.


Conversation Topics

Do you wonder what to talk about? Family, culture, and customs are good conversation starters to help you get to know your friend better. Muslims are family-oriented and experience loneliness when separated from large extended families and communities in their home country. Conversations about God are natural. Share the true meaning of Christmas. You can ask if they would like to hear the Christmas story from the Bible and read it together. They will want to know about Christmas and what it means.


Activities

You may want to invite your friends to help you decorate the Christmas tree or make and decorate Christmas cookies. If your church has activities for the kids, your friend may like to go.


Let’s take this Christmas time to practice hospitality to the foreigners among as the writer of Hebrews says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).


Your friends will feel honored by your invitation to come to your home during this special time of celebration. Enjoy the visit!

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