Daily Topic for December 25, 2010
On this Christmas day let’s remember that the real impact of this holiday should be a new commitment to Christ’s mission to peoples like the Berbers. In the incarnation God crossed the barrier between Himself and man to show His love, truth and grace. He now calls us to cross today’s barriers of culture, language, caste, religion, and prejudices to share Christ with a hungry and dying world.
Pray that the Father will deliver us from the temptation to celebrate Christmas with a selfish heart. As He gave Himself to us, pray that we will now give ourselves to unreached peoples like the Arabized Berbers.
According to the Joshua Project (http://www.joshuaproject.net/) most of northern Africa was once dominated by the Berbers, a non-Arab people. Their survival depended on farming and raising livestock on the fertile plains. In the seventh century Arabs from what is now Saudi Arabia conquered the Berbers. Some fled to safety in the mountains, but most remained and submitted to Arab authority. Gradually, the Berbers began to speak Arabic and to embrace Islam.
This process is known as “Arabization,” and it occurred in three stages. First there was the seventh century Arab conquest, then the 11th century arrival of Bedouins (tribal Arabs), and lastly a wave of refugee Muslims from southern Spain arrived from the 15th to the 17th centuries. The law of the Qur’an replaced the Berber’s tribal law. Increased population led to intense competition for farming and grazing land. Many Berbers moved into the mountains, even to other countries, since few could eke out a living in the mountains.
Today, there are roughly 7,500,000 Berbers scattered throughout the world. Most “Arabized” Berbers still identify themselves as Berbers, although it can be difficult to distinguish them from Arabs.
Many Berbers from Egypt visit Europe long enough to earn money to take home. Pray that these Berber workers would take a new-found faith in Jesus back to their families in Egypt and other parts of northern Africa. Pray these Berbers would come to know that God’s grace supersedes Islam’s Sharia law, and that their only hope lies in Jesus.