Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do you Chrismukkah?

No, I'm not asking you about your banking preference. I'm referring to the fusing of two holidays: Christmas and Hanukkah.
It is basically when a family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas. Although Chrismukkah is traditionally referenced by people who celebrate both holidays due to interfaith marriages, this actually becomes more of a reality to the Messianic. Why? Because we actually do believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is our Savior. Therefore, the question becomes: Do you CHRISTmukkah?
After all, the Christmas I am interested in is the one that is centered around Christ. I have never taught my children about Santa, in fact, they know he is not real. And we don't put up a Christmas tree.
This year, since Hanukkah was so much earlier than Christmas, I was in the middle of Hanukkah celebrations as various school and social Christmas activities were taking place. A few people have asked me this year, "Do you celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas?" And I replied, "No, just Hanukkah." Then I felt odd. Like I was turning my back on Christmas. Why? If we tell Jewish people that they can become believers and not turn their back on their Jewish roots, then why, as Messianics should we not partake in a holiday that unites us in celebrating the birth of our Messiah with other believers?
I acknowledge that most Messianics, having done the research, have come to the conclusion that Yeshua's birth most likely occurred during the Fall Feast of Sukkot, known as the Feast of Tabernacles, described in Leviticus 23, Numbers 29 and Deuteronomy 16. My family and I celebrate Messiah's birth during this Feast because the central theme of Sukkot is God dwelling with us. To me and my family, the connection is obvious.
However, I am a mother. My primary goal is to raise my children for the Lord, so that they may know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and have a personal relationship with their Messiah, Yeshua. And they need to have a firm grasp of their identity as a Messianic believer. I want them to know that Christmas is about celebrating Messiah's birth, not about Santa Claus and not about a Christmas tree. I want them to know that while we may not know exactly when the Savior was born, it is never a bad thing to celebrate His birth.
So this year, I am going to display my Nativity scene during Christmas and since I just had it out during Sukkot, it won't be difficult to get it out again. I'm also going to teach my children the songs that directly speak of the Messiah. How can I go wrong teaching our children songs like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, Angels We Have Heard on High, and the Little Drummer Boy (which always brings me to tears), and many more? I will also read the story of Messiah's birth from the Bible. I'll make it a new family tradition. My boys are at an age now where they have begun to understand the festivals and holidays. They remember our traditions. If they can understand the menorah and the story of the Maccabees and God's redemption during Hanukkah, then Christmas is a perfect time to celebrate and rejoice in the birth of our Savior with our Christian brothers and sisters. We are all on the same team. Let's celebrate together.
So to all you Messianics, Happy Christmukkah!

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