Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

Now some people might think its offensive to put those two things together, but not really.  If you go back and check your Bible, Jesus was Jewish, not Christian!!

Our house proudly sports a Menorah right next to one of my (many) nativity sets.

Our family has some fabulous friends who happen to be Jewish.  Through them, we have been able to participate in, and learn, beautiful Jewish customs.  We have attended Passover and Hanukkah as well as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.  I've heard enough Hebrew to be able to say the Hebrew words in the prayers, although not very well.

A couple of years ago I was driving my daughter to our friends' home.  I thought I would head things off at the pass and remind her that the family didn't celebrate Christmas so there would be no tree or anything in their home.  From the backseat she responded, "Duh Mom.  They do Hanukkah."  She had learned more than I gave her credit for.

We are blessed that they are in our lives.  Our daughter learns so much from them.  She is exposed to so many different cultures, and has tremendous racial tolerance.

Wednesday night during our Confirmation class at church, I shared the meaning of the Menorah and the story behind it, with our Confirmation kids.  They even played dreidel during class.

Judaism and Christianity should not be exclusive of each other.  There is so much rich history that we Christians can and should learn.

So, as you celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, remember that as he grew up, and up until His death, Jesus celebrated Jewish customs, not Christian.  Christianity didn't fully come to be until well after His death.  Picture a young Jesus lighting the Menorah and playing dreidel.  It might give you a different perspective on things.

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