INTERACTIVE BIBLE COMMENTARY - PROPHECY NEWS WATCH - CHRISTIAN SOCIAL NETWORK
By Brother Chris
The December dilemma is again upon us, Christmas verses Hanukkah.
For most of us the choice between the two is a simple matter, we celebrate the one that we were raised with, the one filled with childhood memories. The family traditions we grew up with and now want to pass on to our own children.
Living in North America we have the open religious freedom of choice, however, we have created a wall where Christmas is strictly for Christians and Hanukkah is strictly for the Jews.
· Why is it that so many of us feel that we cannot let in some of the beauty from someone else’s celebration?
· Why do we feel attacked when someone questions the reason we celebrate the way we do?
· Why is it that we feel that if we let in the warmth and beauty of another’s holiday traditions, we are threatening our own fundamental identity and beliefs?
When any of us watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” do we not all find ourselves moved to tears?
Christmas is where we celebrate the birth of Christ, was Jesus born on December 25 4004 BCE, NO. There are better dates that could have been picked, but this is the date that we universally celebrate Jesus birth. To remember His birth, we remember His life and all that He gave us through both His teachings and the example of His life through living His own words.
This brings us to the much debated question, should Christians celebrate Hanukkah?
In my opinion, no we are not required to celebrate the festivals of the Old Testament. However, for all who truly want a deeper understanding of who God truly is, yes I believe we must. To me it is only logical, the Torah is the foundation of our Christian faith, and where better to understand the principle of saved by grace through Jesus Christ than to go back and understand our earliest Christian roots. Hanukkah is called the “Festival of Lights” and who is the true light of the world, Jesus of Nazareth.
As Christians, we can celebrate the “Festival of Lights”
· We can rededicate our lives to Christ and acknowledge Him as the perfect and true light of this world.
· As believers, when we celebrate Hanukkah it reminds us of God's wonderful miracles on our behalf.
· It reminds us of God's protection throughout our lives.
· It reminds us to remain true to God even when the world around us tries to force us into assimilation. (very important in coming days)
In the Gospel of John, we learn that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah was at the Holy Temple during the “feast of dedication” or Hanukkah: “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon” (John 10:22-23).
During this great season of remembering miracles, Jesus pointed out to His listeners that the miracles He had done authenticated His claim that He was, indeed, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah (John 10:37-38). His works and His true character clearly demonstrated who He was.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12). The Lord Jesus gives all of us, Jew and Gentile, the “light of life.” And He commanded us to “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Should you forget about Christmas and start celebrating Hanukkah, NO. However to honestly get a closer glimpse of who God is, I feel one must incorporate into our lives, one step at a time, the Old Testament festivals, and which one better than the one where we acknowledge Jesus as the perfect and true light of our life.
Our dear member, En Punto, has been studying the Jewish Festivals for 20 years and has graciously accepted my request to do a series of short articles on the basics of bringing a little Hanukkah into our Christmas. Through the coming days of Christmas and Hanukkah I will be sending out her articles in this Prophecy Times newsletter. Pick out a couple of things that you can incorporate into your family traditions this Christmas season and experience Jesus in a whole new light.
Here is just an example of what you will be seeing and how she keeps the holidays with her family and friends.
The winter holiday season is one of love, joy, peace, and "good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). However, many of my Messianic friends have shared that the winter holiday season is hard for them. Many of them have stopped celebrating Christmas, and are now celebrating Hanukkah, and are trying to feel comfortable with the changes. Many of these people have asked my personal view on Christmas vs. Hanukkah.
This can be a wonderful, yet hard time of year for many of us. I believe we must keep a balanced view of the holiday season and not be unkind toward anyone who does not yet see things the way that we now do. If we were raised as an evangelical Christian, we would have celebrated Christmas differently. It was not about presents, Santa Claus, or a tree. It would be about the miraculous virgin birth of the Messiah (Isaiah)
Many years ago, we stopped celebrating the traditions around Christmas. When our family sends Christmas gifts, we send them holiday gifts. When our friends send us Christmas cards, we send holiday cards. However, in stopping the traditions of Christmas, we have been careful as we replace them with some of the traditions of Hanukkah.
The story of the Maccabeus and the miracle of the rededication of the Temple are wonderful to hear. The Festival of Lights can hold much delight for us. There is much fun in celebration this event in Jewish history. Yet, we cannot forget who the Light of the world is. We cannot forget Yahshua (Jesus).
Therefore, when we say to family and friends that we do not celebrate Christmas, we must be careful to let them understand that we are talking about Santa /Claus and the tree. For with my non- Messianic believing family, we have had to make it clear that we still very much believe in the virgin birth and Bethlehem and the baby who was born to save us from our sin. However, our holiday time now centers on "The Temple"--Yahshua (Jesus), the Light of the world --the Temple who needs no cleansing and the Temple who can never be destroyed!
Posted by: En Punto
To all our members and friends,
What traditions do you have?
How do you celebrate the birth and light of this world?
Please let us know.
Today's Devotional Commentary by Charlotte_Irene
Psalm 126…Tuesday December 6th, 2011
GOD DOES GREAT THINGS
HIS POWER RELEASES US FROM SIN’S CAPTIVE HOLD
RESTORES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM
Bring back our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy
He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him
Our Heavenly Father restores
God’s ability to restore life is beyond our understanding
Forests burn down and are able to grow back.
Broken bones heal
Even grief is not a permanent condition
Our tears can be seeds that will grow into a harvest of joy because God is able to bring good out of tragedy
When burdened by sorrow, know that your times of grief will end and that you will again find joy.
We must be patient as we wait
God’s great harvest of joy is coming
SOW IN TEARS…REAP IN JOY
This psalm is about the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity after 70 years in exile
Three metaphors are used to express the overwhelming joy of coming home
A pleasant dream Psalm
The refreshing water of streams in the southern desert area
Harvest time festivities
RESTORATION IS AVAILABLE TO ALL BELIEVERS
LET US SO ENTER IN AND THUS PARTAKE OF THE BENEFITS THEREOF
TEARS and BROKENNESS are a part of VICTORIOUS WARFARE
Tears in scripture play a unique role in spiritual breakthrough.
Here we discover that the planting of seeds accompanied by a spirit of brokenness will not only bring a spiritual harvest of results, but will leave the sower with a spirit of rejoicing in the process.
Scripture reveals a spirit of brokenness
There are tears of sorrow or suffering
2 Kings 20:5
Tears of Joy
Tears of compassion
Tears of desperation
Esther 4: 1-3
Tears of travail or giving birth
Tears of repentance
Will we in humility be willing to turn and so encounter the reality of Christ?
HE WHO DELIVERED THE JEWS FROM BABYLONAIN CAPTIVITY REACHES FORTH TO DELIVER US FROM THE CAPTIVITY OF SINS DOMAIN THAT WE MIGHT ENTER IN and SO EXPERIENCE DIVINE RESTORATION
Study by Charlotte…December 2011Submit & Read Comments
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