I am very late on posting for Hanukkah.
I hope you had a wonderful, joy-filled Hanukkah illuminated by the brightness of Messiah Yeshua, the LORD of Light and Love and the lights of the feast.
Like many followers of Messiah Yeshua, our family has been very busy lately with Hanukkah cookie decorating, driedel game playing, and latke (potato pancakes) and Israeli doughnut (sufganiyot) eating. My exercise regimen is going to have to step it up after all this grease. It has been delicious, but it is time to put away all that oil!
Make Hanukkah special for your children
We try to make Hanukkah week extra special for our children. They love making Hanukkah crafts and talking about the Hanukkah victory. I’ve been so surprised and impressed by JoAnn fabric store – they have wooden dreidels and menorahs that the children can paint and decorate. I was able to get beautiful Hanukkah ribbon there and some other things. Target has usually been my go-to for Hanukkah decor, and they didn’t disappoint this year either, but our local JoAnn store definitely had a large selection as well. It was refreshing being able to take my kids to find some blue and white things that they could relate to instead of all the green and red. 😉 Kohl’s was selling nice Hanukkah throw blankets and I was able to get one for a great price with the famous Kohl’s cash. I’m not writing this so you’ll go out and spend a bunch of money, I just want to point you in the right direction if you were trying to find holy-day accessories 🙂 Our children don’t feel they are “missing out” on anything. They enjoy the Hanukkah season and I hope they will pass it along to their children. I also emphasize to them that the other feasts are actually greater than this, but I know as children, Hanukkah is their favorite 🙂
I noticed this year a much greater availablilty of all things Hanukkah. We can argue that we shouldn’t get into all the commercialism… but if you grew up with a lot of Christmasness and choose to give it up for something more Biblical in nature, there’s nothing wrong with a few decorations and some celebration. I know, I know, we shall not imitate the nations . . . but perhaps the nations first imitated the joy of the Hebrew community. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
As Hanukkah rises in prominence, I find it to be a great way to talk to others about its meaning. More and more Christian believers are being introduced to Hanukkah and embracing it as part of their history, too.
Many Christians who begin to understand the value of Hanukkah quickly begin to worry that if they adopt it, they will be asked to give up Christmas. There is often a strong defensiveness that arises, and my advice is to just leave it alone. Ruach haKodesh will lead them into the fullness of Truth.
Should Christians abandon Christmas?
Well, people at Christmastime are into making lists and checking them twice. So let’s make a list.
What are some of the main features of Christmas?
- Christmas tree
- Nativity scene
- Santa Claus
Jeremiah 10:3-4 says
The customs of the peoples are useless:
it is just a tree cut from the forest,
the work of the hands of a craftsman with a chisel.
They decorate it with silver and gold,
and fasten it with hammer and nails
so it won’t totter.
So back to our list.
Item #1, the Christmas tree. Some will argue that Jeremiah wasn’t talking about the modern Christmas tree, but it describes it so perfectly, I am convinced his prophetic words relate to us today.
It wasn’t easy to give up the Christmas tree tradition when we first began, but 12 years later, there’s no going back now. And we don’t actually miss it.
Item #2, the Nativity scene. Growing up in a fairly religious family, the Nativity scene is something that was seen to represent faith, not take away from it. We never had one in our backyard, but we did have small ones throughout the house. When I was in high school, I started a little collection of them. My favorite one was made in Mexico and was full of beautiful colors. I never thought of it as being idolatrous or anti-faith! When I met my husband, who is actually from Mexico, he explained to me the idolatrous reality behind most of the making of those nativity sets and urged me to reject them from my life. It honestly took me a while to comprehend this! I loved the little Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus and especially the shepherd and the little sheep! But our Messiah is so much greater than these images – images that limit our understanding and prevent us from appreciating the fullness of the reality of the fact He came to tabernacle with us, to dwell with us and within us. The Nativity scene is actually perpetuating idolatry, and should be reconsidered by any truly faithful believer as to whether or not this belongs in our lives.
Item #3, the Santa Claus obsession. I feel very blessed that my parents were never too into Santa Claus. Yes, they did the Santa thing for a few years when I was very small, but we never had Santa decorations or much of that. I am surprised by the evangelical churches that welcome the Santa nonsense into their services and do not have a problem with it. Santa Claus is the world’s way of completely turning the attention away from Christ.
Some churches have beautiful and elegant services for Christmas Eve, and I will admit to enjoying those. But baby Jesus isn’t baby Jesus anymore – He is the Lion of Judah, the One who Fights for us, the One who died for us and lives! He is the Resurrected One! Had he never come as a baby, we would never have salvation, so I celebrate that He came, but December 25 is not the day to do it. If you read up on the cult of Mithra, you will realize this sun god’s birthday was celebrated on December 25 and over time Christians reappropriated the day to supposedly focus on Jesus the True God, but the roots are still in that paganism. The Emperor Nero worshipped this Persian god and sought invincibility – this is the same evil man who threw Messiah Yeshua’s followers into the lions and burned them in his garden as human torches.
Once you are informed, ask yourself, would you really want to honor Nero’s god’s day of December 25? Perhaps Christians began to accept the day in an attempt to protect themselves by “worshipping” on December 25. The Bible certainly doesn’t designate December 25 as Jesus’ birthday. Why not check out what the Bible actually says, and do what God’s Word says? You’ll soon discover the very powerful symbolism of the Feast of Tabernacles with the coming of Emmanuel. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. We celebrate the Feast of Dedication, not because of any mandate, but because we rejoice in all of YHWH’s miraculous provision.