This year I’m celebrating Christmakah.
‘What on earth is that,’ you ask? Well, let me enlighten you. It’s a mixture of Christmas and Chanukah.😁
And if I were to guess right, just about now, some of my Jewish readers will feel the need to tear open their clothes in mourning for witnessing such ‘blasphemy’, and some of my Christian readers will want to either close the browser that hosts such a foul message, or be intrigued and think ‘oh, how liberal, I might try some of that too!’
Keep reading so that you make an informed decision before you either applaud my liberalism or shun me for blasphemy.
This year Chanukah falls on the same day as the Christmas Eve and lasts until the 1st of January 2017. Having observed Chanukah for most of my life, I want to keep doing that. Having a sister possessed with the ‘Christmas spirit’, I don’t want to go all ‘the power of Christ compels you!’ on her. So I decided to do both.
Some might think that’s wrong, and you are right. Some might think that’s good and you’re also right. And for those of you Jewish enough to know both instances can’t be right, you are right too. (hahaha, see what I did there? (for the confused: see ‘Fiddler on the roof’))
Concerning Christmas, both Christians and Jews know that it is about the birth of Jesus. Now, regardless of how Jews might argue Him being HaMashiach or not, and regardless if Christians agree on the date of His birth – people know that Christmas is about celebrating Yeshua’s birth so I will not go into details about what Christmas is.
Jews might know a great deal about Chanukah, having to listen to Megillat Antiochus (The Scroll of Antiochus, referring to the Chanukah story) once a year, every year. But for those that don’t know much about it, here’s the shortest version I can come up with:
Chanukah is the Hebrew word for “dedication.” The eight-day Jewish celebration bearing that name — it is also called the Festival of Lights — remembers the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after it had been recovered by the Jewish forces of Yehuda HaMacabi in 164 BC. The Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, seeking to coerce the Jews into abandoning their religion and culture for that of Greece, had issued edicts forbidding circumcision, observance of Jewish Sabbaths and feast-days. He had defiled the Holy Temple by offering a sow on the altar and raising up in the sanctuary a statue to Zeus.As depicted in the First Book of Maccabees (an account of Jewish history found in the Apocrypha), a revolt was launched by the priest Matisyahu and later led by his son Yehuda (Judas) HaMacabi. It led to the defeat of the Syrian forces, and the defiled Temple was cleansed and re-dedicated. Another account relates how during this cleansing there was only enough sanctified oil left to burn in the menorah for one night—yet a miracle occurred, and it continued burning for eight days. The victorious warrior Yehuda ordained “that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Kislev, with mirth and gladness” (I Maccabees 4:59). Today, part of the celebration includes the use of a special eight-branched menorah (Chanukiah) upon which a new oil lamp or candle is lit each evening. Each light is ignited from the flame of a separate “branch” called shamash—“servant”- that sits in the middle and usually above the rest but not necessarily.
The entire point of Chanukah is to celebrate people who died rather than practice any religion other than Judaism and thus me even suggesting to a Jew to consider Christmas is outrageous to say the least. And then I even have the chutzpah to mix the two together as if desecrating everything Chanukah stands for.
I know I sound crazy but bear with me.
I don’t wish to go into a debate with believers in Yeshua of whether it’s OK to celebrate Christmas or not, if it’s pagan or whatever – I really hope that a believer’s greatest sin will be that they have had a Christmas tree and have remembered the birth of Jesus. On that note I don’t wish to be asked even one more time if it’s OK to do it. I find it pointless and ridiculous. If you believe that Christmas is pagan, may God help you if you do anything related to it because you’ve already decided it’s against God and my advice would be: just stop. If you believe it’s a chance to celebrate Jesus, good for you! I hope you celebrate with everything you’ve got! But regardless of what Christians believe concerning Christmas I don’t care, and using the immortal words of Shaul (Paul) this is all I have to say:
“Therefore, let’s no longer criticize each other. Instead, make up your mind not to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know—and have been persuaded by the Lord Jesus—that nothing is unclean in and of itself, but it is unclean to a person who thinks it is unclean.For if your brother is being hurt by what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not destroy the person for whom the Messiah died by what you eat. Do not allow what seems good to you to be spoken of as evil.” (Romans 14:13-16)
For the Jews that are confused about why I am intent to defile their precious celebration with bringing up Yeshua’s birth, well … because I believe with all my heart that Yeshua is the entire point of Chanukah. (Put. Down. Your. Stone 😇😁)
Deep breaths. There you go.
I do not wish to disrespect in any way anything that has to do with Am HaKodesh, chas v’shalom!
I will not go into every prophecy that Yeshua fulfilled to prove He is HaMashiach. This article is not about that. You already know what you believe and I don’t care to change your mind, one way or another. This article is about me explaining why I personally celebrate Christmakah, this being MY blog and all that.
Christmas (be it wrong or right) reminds me of the birth of Yeshua. I don’t care if they got the dates right or wrong; I don’t care if the Christmas tree was used by pagans in their silly rituals; I don’t care what anyone’s argument is when they refute Christmas. To me, it’s a reminder that He came to make me His. He didn’t come into this world in the best of circumstances. He’s humble like that. You see, my Savior… Yeshua, “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Yeshayahu 53:2-3)
He was no Yehuda HaMacabi. He didn’t come to lead a revolt against an empire. He didn’t come waving a sword. He came under the most vulnerable conditions. Yet, I and millions like me call Him Savior … as much as that boggles a Jew’s mind.
Yehuda HaMacabi led the people to victory and re-dedicated Beit HaMikdash (The Temple). The true miracle of Chanukah was not that Jews rebelled against an empire and won. It’s a fact that since the golden Menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees had to make one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest Yochanan. It was sufficient to light only for one day. But by a miracle of Adonai, it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available.
Yehuda HaMacabi is honored for re-dedicating The Temple.
I honor Yeshua because He dedicated this temple that is me, to Adonai for all eternity.
He didn’t wage war against the Seleucid Empire, He waged war against the darkness itself and won. He became my menorah, raising its arms to Adonai in my place, pleading for grace… He became my oil that would sanctify me… He became my shamash, above me but serving me to light my darkness, knowing I have no light if He’s not my Light. And by His grace and for His glory I shine my light.
My Christmakah is about a birth. Yeshua’s birth.
It’s about how one day Ben HaElohim (The Son of God) broke me.
Piece by piece and cell by cell, He took form inside my heart, until one day He broke free from the shell I was, full to brimming with Him inside. My biggest hope.
He broke my expectations: I thought I knew what was coming. I thought I’d bend and stretch to fit the changes seamlessly without shaking, without crying. Instead, I lay there, split down the middle, my own heart His and beating outside my body.
I didn’t say some magical words that changed my life forever. There was no: “today, I receive you in my heart”. No. I didn’t even know He snuck into my heart when I first heard the words of Malachi HaNavi (the prophet Malachi), “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” (Malachi 1:2). And word by word He grew inside me until I had to give Him my all.
He cleaved me into two parts: one part mine, and the other His. He split my heart open, and it’s still open and I don’t think it will ever close. But that is good, because otherwise I’d selfishly hide Him away and keep Him just for me. Now people can see Him through my open heart… And He shines. And my goodness, sometimes He’s blinding me with all that Light. With everything He is and I can’t even begin to grasp.
He is my Light and my Salvation.
And that is why this year I’ll celebrate a Christmakah. So deal with it!
Bat Melech בת מלך