That said, it is not recorded anywhere that he partook of the festivities, nor forbade them. So I will simply hold the holiday loosely. I will take a crack at frying up cheese and potato cakes and playing with the dreidel as well as making gluten-free donuts. And maybe frying a turkey instead of roasting one is in order…
I will also do the traditional thing by lighting the candles properly, but instead of reciting the standard Jewish blessings, I have written a prayer of rededication. I will meditate upon it and celebrate with lights, too, because Jesus is the Light of the World. Which leads me to Christmas. I will also celebrate this time loosely.
Jesus wasn’t born in December. And December 25th was a time set aside by pagan cultures to worship Tammuz. The Roman Emperor Constantine thought that by integrating a time to celebrate Jesus with the time other “gods” were being celebrated would steer the pagans to Christianity.
Does this mean it is acceptable to celebrate his birth for our good pleasure on this same day? Does it honor God when Christians celebrate Chanukkah or Christmas? Should we care since we now live in a time of grace? Has the Hebrew Roots Movement gone and soiled the purity of everything by the use of sensationalism, trying to steer Believers away from Christian celebrations because they have pagan ties? Are our minds now tainted?
Yes. So many questions. Remember, it is the heart God is looking at. Our desire to seek and know the truth, to please him.
Loosely is the word I stress here. I don’t embrace either celebration with passion, because I don’t like their origins. But then, I am in a world that is so fallen, every aspect of pagan culture meshes into my daily life. The things I eat, wear, buy. All have impure origins. The people that manufacture and market them have impure intentions. They are not thinking of me, only my dollar.
As God is looking across the earth, he is judging the intentions of men, the heart of men. This must be pure in order to honor God. I will examine myself and make sure I am right with God, then I will join with others and point to Christ wherever opportunity allows. I realize these are not holy days, nor Godly celebrations. People around the world, in general, are not holding God in their hearts as they gather and sing. It is just a time of merriment. There is a “religious” aspect to them, but nothing holy about either Chanukkah or Christmas.
In fact, Hanukkah is a holiday created by the Jews for the Jews, a day to rededicate their lives to God. A day to stand apart from the gentile nations.
What did Jesus make of it? We read in the Gospel of John that he was in the temple during their feast. What did he say?
During the Feast of Dedication, Christ stood in the Portico of Solomon, the place for the gentiles. They were not allowed to desecrate the temple by entering it. Jesus clarifies that he is the light of the world that embraces all nations, not just the Jews.
So, Christ is the light that came into darkness. Here in Spain, it looks very, very dark.
By Jori Sams