Posted by: Elena's Israel Blog | 12/14/2016

WHY DO WE CELEBRATE?

Although I don’t recommend stopping the celebration of Christmas or Hanukkah (and I’ll explain why), please consider this information from NEAPN (New England Apostolic Prayer Network).

paganThe 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.” “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.”

christmastreeAccording to NEAPN, 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 – the 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, grafted into spiritual Israel (Romans chapter 11), shouldn’t we celebrate the Jewish feasts, 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 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 dates of the feasts for 2016-17 are:

Rosh Hashanna  – Feast of Trumpets:  October 2-3, 2016
followed by the 10 Days of Awe
Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement: October 11-12, 2016
Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles: October 16-23, 2016
Simchat Torah/Joy of Torah: October 23-25, 2016
Pesach – Passover: April 11-12, 2017
Feast of Unleavened Bread: April 12-19, 2017
Feast of First Fruits: April 15-16, 2017
Counting the Omer: April 15 – June 3, 2017
Shavuot/Pentecost – Feast of Weeks: June 3-4, 2017

Also commanded by the Lord are the weekly observance of the Sabbath (Shabbat) and the welcoming of each new month at the new moon observance – Rosh Chodesh.

hanukkahmenorrahNote that Hanukkah (Feast of re-dedication of the 2nd temple) is not included although it does commemorate a true miracle in Jewish history, just as for Christians, Christmas commemorates the birth of our Savior Yeshua Ha Mashiach/Jesus Christ, who, it is believed, was born in October, during the Feast of Tabernacles. In fact, Jesus observed Hanukkah!  John 10:22-23

I’m just saying. . . .

But, would unbelievers be drawn to our Savior if we suddenly stopped celebrating Christmas? No, they wouldn’t, 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 of Christmas, 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. Praise His Name forever! Baruch Hashem!

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