“I hate this time of year!” “Me, too,” her friend replied as they walked into the synagogue. “I hate having Christmas shoved down my throat.” I knew exactly how the two women felt. I’d felt the same way. Every December, the entire world seemed to separate between Christians and Jews. As for me and my house, we felt isolated and rejected, as though we hadn’t been invited to a wonderful party. It didn’t matter to me that we didn’t believe in Jesus, who was at the center of all the fun. I wanted what Christmas seemed to be: family, fun, and PRESENTS! My family succumbed to my pleadings and we “did” Christmas. My brother and I made our wish lists and saved our pennies to find the perfect presents for others. Dad took us shopping to find the largest tree, which we quickly festooned with both hand-made and store-bought decorations. Of course, the tree was crowned with a Jewish star to identify it as a Hanukkah bush.

Eventually, however, we stopped the charade. Hanukkah was our holiday. I just didn’t know too much about it. Many people don’t know what Hanukkah is all about. I thought Hanukkah was about Judas Maccabee, the temple, and some oil. But now I know it’s much more than that. Hanukkah is about God’s blessing upon a faithful remnant that would not compromise its faith. For all the wrong reasons, my family compromised their beliefs to be just like the world. The message of Hanukkah challenges us to stand firm in and for the name of the Lord Jesus despite personal costs and consequences. [Excerpted from Celebrate Jesus!]

For more information see Joanie’s books:

Celebrate Jesus! The Christian Perspective of the Biblical  Feasts

Celebrate God’s Love: Christmas/Hanukkah: Fact & Fiction

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