A Balanced view for Christians and Messianic Jews
Over the years, I have run into many hurting Christians who tell me of loved ones suddenly having an epiphany and declaring they can never celebrate Christmas again! These well-meaning, but a wee-bit overzealous believers often connect it with Messianic Judaism. And the end result is that folks believe Messianic Jews are on a Crusade (pun intended) to end Christmas. Whether Christmas is pagan in origins or not, one is not going to win over their loved ones by preaching to them that they are now pagans or are celebrating a pagan holiday.
If one has a longstanding tradition of celebrating Christmas with their extended family, I see no reason not to continue even if he or she has come to different conclusions about celebrating it. Family is too important. Just this morning, I was in a Jewish synagogue singing songs about the Creator with 40 Jews who don’t share my belief in Yeshua. It was not a time to preach, but to be a light. I was there to honor my nephew who was married last week. Though we have strong disagreements regarding the Messiah, I want to win my in-laws, not drive them away. With that in mind, I wrote a series of blogs on Christmas.
Back in 1999, we lived in Ukraine. We were working with the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, training leaders for Jewish ministry. When Christmas came, we were invited to a party with about 30 other ex-pats working in Ukraine. They decided to go around the room, asking each other what their favorite Christmas memory was. There was a gasp when I shared that I didn’t have one—“I’ve never celebrated Christmas.” Mental hard drives began to crash.
It is simple. I am Jewish. I didn’t grow up with Christmas. There is no spiritual or cultural connection. However, I do have a few things I would like to share with both Jew and Gentile alike about Christmas. I am not here as a Christmas Basher. I think (hope!) you’ll find my view balanced and affirming and hopefully enlightening as well. But we need to go through it point by point.
*Originally published Dec. 19, 2015