Posted by: Elena's Israel Blog | 11/30/2010

Why Christmas and Hanukkah??

Let me start by saying I won’t stop celebrating Christmas, nor do I think Jews should stop celebrating Hanukkah. BUT, consider this information from NEAPN (New England Apostolic Prayer Network).

The pagan origins of Christmas: “In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast. In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. In January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The festival season was marked by much merrymaking. It is in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers was born. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born.” The article I’m citing lists several other pagan practices and their origins if you’d care to read: http://community.icontact.com/p/watchboston/newsletters/mpn/posts/neapn-news-open-the-heavens-intercession-saying-goodbye-to-christmas.

“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” Jer 10:2-4

“In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts (and statues) would not be taken away from them.”

“The Lord made it clear, that we are to celebrate the (Jewish) Feasts always; however, no thanks to Emperor Constantine, who got us out of the (timing of the Lord – Hebrew calendar) and celebration of the feasts. He picked up the pagan rituals and tacked them and their timing right into the Christian (Gregorian) calendar. Isn’t that what the enemy (satan) wants to do according to scripture?  Get us out of the timing of God.”

“As Christians we are to celebrate the Jewish feasts or holidays of Israel while knowing that Jesus came not to destroy the works of the law but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). Many Christians do not realize that the seven Jewish feasts of Israel are still observed today by Jews. We must become familiar with the feasts in order to better understand the roots of our faith as well as God’s redemptive plan throughout the ages. The feasts can be observed in Leviticus 23 in the order of their seasonal observance.

The feasts for 2011 are:
1. Passover – April 19th
2. Feast of Unleavened Bread – April 20th
3. First Fruits – April 22nd
4. Feast of Weeks or Pentecost – June 8th
5. Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanna) – September 29th
6. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – October 8th
7. Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot – October 13th

Note that Hanukkah is not included although it does commemorate a true miracle in Jewish history, just as for Christians, Christmas commemorates the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, who was born, incidentally, more like in October, during the Feast of Tabernacles.

I’m just saying. . . .

So, would the unbelieving world be drawn to our Savior if we suddenly stopped celebrating Christmas? No, because the culture is so saturated with the customs we’ve adopted for centuries, that it would seem unfriendly, hateful and non-religious. But in our celebrating, let us focus on the fact that on a very special night in Bethlehem, Israel, ‘love rained down on the earth’ as our Redeemer entered time and space in order to rescue us.

 

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Responses

  1. F Y I WHEN YOU SEARCH THE HEBREW BIBLE (Tanakh) YOU CAN FIND WHERE PASSOVER IS ALLOWED TO BE CELEBRATED ONLY IN JERUSALEM. RABBI JESHUA CELEBRATED PASSOVER WITH HIS APOSTLES IN AN UPPER ROOM IN THE OLD ESSENE QUARTER, WHICH IS NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE. BUT THE OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM IS ALIVE AND WELL TODAY, FULL OF CELEBRATING JEWS. IT’S OK TO CELEBRATE THE OTHER JEWISH HOLIDAYS AROUND THE WORLD. BUT HOW ABOUT HIS SACRED SABBATHS? DO WE ONLY CELEBRATE WHAT IS CONVENIENT? JIM

    • Interesting – I had not heard of Passover only in Jerusalem. I think you must be referring to the Talmud commentaries because the Torah commands all Jews to observe Passover.
      Thanks for your comment.


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