Finding Spiritual Oneness in Interfaith Relationships

Hannukah or Christmas?

Christmas, a Jewish Holiday?

As you’ll see in this section, Jewish people have various reactions to Christmas, from caustic to curious. Most assume that-like Jesus-Christmas is “a Gentile thing.” Similarly, many Jewish believers in Jesus didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas and so while some rejoice that they can now take part in a holiday that was forbidden for so long, others feel uncomfortable with the cultural trappings of Christmas.

However, we all realize that the Christmas season brings to mind thoughts of peace and thoughts of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. It is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, and it’s also an incredible time for introducing others to the greatest Jew who ever lived.

If Christmas isn’t exactly a Jewish holiday—then it ought to be

Jews should be able to join in with others in celebrating the birth of the greatest Jew that ever lived

Maybe some of us Jews aren’t able to celebrate because we see Christmas as a Jesus holiday and we haven’t yet discovered that Jesus isn’t prejudiced against us

Others might be turned away by mistletoe, Macy’s merchandising, or middle class merriment

Maybe we could manage to feel like celebrating if Santa Claus wasn’t crowding Jesus off the scene

After all, remember whose birthday it’s supposed to be

Some say: “Santa Claus is a capitalist agent who promotes the idea that happiness comes through things.” He is certainly a salesman more than a saint

Others say: “Santa is a communist agent because he dresses in red and only gives away things bought by other people”

Santa is no friend of truth. Have you ever noticed how scrupulously he avoids every mention of Jesus?

Even if he has a beard Santa is not Jewish and such a nogoodnik should have no part in our celebration of Christmas as a Jewish holiday

All we need for Christmas or any joyous celebration is Jesus

Some of us Jews join with the rest of the world to honor him—he is the world’s oldest living Jew—since he is still alive

Some of us Jews enjoy the idea that people from every race sing praise to the God of Israel because of Jesus

They read the Jewish Bible and honor our ancestors. People like Abraham, Moses, David, and Daniel are heroes because of Jesus

(Some people even love one another and are good to their neighbors because of Jesus)

All of Jesus’ apostles spoke with a Jewish accent

All of the writers of the New Testament are Jews

All of the teachings of Jesus like love, peace, caring, sharing, joyful worship and belonging to God’s family are Jewish ideas and ideals

Giving presents is a very Jewish thing to do.

In fact God gave His people the very best Christmas present, His very own Son (see Isaiah 9:6 and Psalm 2:1)

What could be better or nicer than to give one’s true self as a present to those one loves?

That’s what God did in Jesus.

He gave Himself so that you might have real joy

Though we don’t know exactly what day He was born, December 25th is as nice as any day and every day to celebrate his birth

If you knew what we know—that Jesus is really the Messiah—then you would agree that Christmas should be a Jewish holiday

May God give you much joy!

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Emmanuel • November 25, 2008

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