Frasat Ahmad, USA
I am a Muslim, and I love Jesus, perhaps more than you may think.
To many devout church-goers who are preparing to celebrate Christmas, this statement may seem strange and even untrue. But for me, for the nearly 2 billion Muslims in this world, and especially for the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, it is true.
No, I do not celebrate Christmas, and I certainly don’t believe Jesus to be the son of God or God in Trinity. But I do know Jesus to be a chosen Prophet, ‘honored in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God, ’  as Allah the Almighty declares.
I know that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) expressed immense love for Jesus, saying, ‘I am the nearest of all people to Jesus, in this world and the next. We are brothers to one another and our religion is one.’ 
I also know Jesus was saved  from the ignominy of an accursed death  on the cross and lived to fulfill his mission  of finding the lost sheep of Israel.  I know this, because of a man named Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). In him lies the secret to why I love Jesus (as) so deeply.
Jesus Christ (as) known to Muslims as Isa bin Maryam, is so central to Islam that most of the world’s Muslims anxiously await his return in the latter days. Yet, I know that he has already returned.
As the world desperately awaits Christ’s second coming, I have already accepted him and have witnessed the impact of his glorious return. I know with certainty that the prophecy of Christ’s second coming has already been fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian.
As John the Baptist was the ‘Elijah who was to come,’  Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) is the Jesus (as) who was to come. As John the Baptist appeared ‘in the spirit and power of Elijah,’  Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) appeared in the spirit and power of Jesus (as).
In his own words, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) writes, ‘The God of the whole world is He who has sent down His revelation to me, who has shown mighty signs in my support and who has sent me as the Promised Messiah in this age. There is no God beside Him, neither in heaven nor on earth. He who does not believe in Him is bereft of all good fortune and is ensnared in disgrace. The revelation I have received from God is as bright as the sun.’ 
Again, he writes, ‘I hold the Messiah son of Mary, in high esteem, inasmuch as I am spiritually the Khaatam-ul-Khulafaa [the Seal of the Caliphs] in Islam, just as the Messiah son of Mary was the Khaatam-ul-Khulafaa of the Israelite dispensation. The Son of Mary was the Promised Messiah of the Mosaic dispensation and I am the Promised Messiah of the dispensation of Muhammad [sa]; so I honor greatly the one whose name I bear. Anyone who asserts that I do not revere the Messiah son of Mary is mischievous and a liar.’ 
My belief in the Muslim Messiah only increases my love and reverence for the Israelite Messiah, for he writes, ‘There is no doubt that Isa is a great Prophet of God. He is without question loved and honoured by God, a light of this world and the sun of guidance. He was glorified before the Lord God and possessed a status close to His throne. Millions of those who love him, follow his teachings, and act upon his guidance will receive deliverance from hell.’ 
Again, he emphasizes,
‘It is revealed to this humble one that in my meekness, humility, trust, sacrifice, signs and blessings I am the model of the first manifestation of Messiah. My nature has close affinity to that of the Messiah, as if we were two portions of the same gem or two fruits of a single tree. We are so closely bonded together that only a spiritually-gifted eye can detect the fine difference that exists between us. Moreover, there is a manifest resemblance between us. For the Messiah was the subordinate to a perfect prophet of great grandeur i.e. Moses and was the servant of the religion (of Moses) and his Gospel is a branch of Torah. And this humble one too is one of the most humble servants of that Prophet of great eminence who is the Master of all prophets and the Crown of all Messengers.’ 
So, while the rest of the world celebrates the birth of Christ, I celebrate his spiritual return and ‘rebirth’ into this world. While they rejoicing in opening physical gifts that bear no relation with the Messiah, I rejoice in the everlasting spirituals gifts of Divine Recognition and moral standards that my Muslim Messiah has given me.
This is how I commemorate Jesus (as), and why I love him.
About the Author: Frasat Ahmad serves as an Imam at the US National Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
 The Holy Qur’an 3:46
 Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith #3443
 The Holy Qur’an 4:158
 Deuteronomy 21:22-23
 Micah 5:4
 Matthew 15:24
 Matthew 11:14
 Luke 1:17
 Noah’s Ark p. 33
 Ibid p. 29
 British Government and Jihad p. 32
 Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah, pp. 593, 594, marginal notes within margin No.3, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1