The miracles we miss are the ones we choose to ignore.
I used to work for a ministry that did good work in helping to defend the rights of Christians to express their faith during December. In a time when many people were seeing their nativity scenes taken down, this ministry stood up and rallied the troops to defend the right to display baby Jesus.
You have probably seen their buttons and their bumper stickers displayed proudly during the Christmas season. Some people just keep the stickers and magnets up all year. When I see that, I can just about guess if that person has a few lights still dangling off the side of their roof. Why take ’em down, right? Just unplug them until November… Or October, maybe?
Who Took My Baby Jesus?
When we visited the Sight and Sound Theater in Branson, MO a few years ago, we had a baby doll thief in our midst. Our own baby, looked at the Life sized nativity scene and saw a baby doll which just so happened to be portraying the Christ Child in a manger. As we were walking about, waiting the next play performance, I noticed our little girl (about age 2) was clinging to baby Jesus – swaddling cloths and all. She had helped herself to the doll. Quickly I rescued the plastic baby from her clutches and tried to slip it/him back in the authentic feeding trough.
Well, ever since I started celebrating Hanukkah, many Christians have looked at me as if I were a baby Jesus thief. Not kidding. It’s essentially the most popular reaction from fellow Christians.
I once remained silent in a room with a small group of Christian leaders. These ministers were belly aching over retail companies acknowledging Hanukkah during December. They were upset at the concept of advertising and in-store graphics which included greetings that said something other than the sacred words “merry” and “Christmas.” Not all of them were angry, but none of them acted as if Hanukkah was a real thing.
Sometimes the zeal for Christmas convinces me all the more for the case for Hanukkah. Many consider it another Kwanzaa, or at least, a substitute Christmas. The fact is Hanukkah was here first. I suggest that if we are convinced of our holidays, other people must be equally excited during their festivities.
If people take offense when people say, “Happy Holidays,” I want to ask them why their Christmas is not considered by them to be “holy.” One should accept tidings of good will, right? The Golden rule of holidays should be, “do unto others’ not-mass as you would have them do to your Christ-mass.”
Hanukkah itself was about the rededication of the temple. This happened after biblical feasts and practices were replaced with those of the pagan dictator.
After the cleaning project was completed, the people of God fortified the temple and city and drove out the bad guys.
The maccabees did NOT go to Greece and take away their practices.
If you are happy with your celebration, with your sacred times, maybe you should enjoy them and “be ye firmly convinced in your heart.”
The point is this. If we are free to celebrate and wish people well, then others must be free to do the same. If not, then it’s just a matter of war. Then, eventually one side wins.
At that point, maybe Christmas is king. Maybe Hanukkah. Or maybe some kind of winter solstice observance, who knows?
We Need A Little Hanukkah
So, this year, if you have a nativity play and exchange gifts in the name of Christmas, maybe it would benefit everyone if you add a little Hanukkah education to your December of joy. After all, you may actually discover eternal truths as you kindle the lamp of reverence in your heart toward God and His chosen people.
While bad actors want all the “Christ” out of Christmas, that’s not a “Jewish conspiracy.” Mean people are just mean. Not everyone who celebrates something other than Christmas wants to steal your Baby Jesus.
The evil emperor Antiochus Epiphanies tried to steal baby Jesus by killing away Jews and replacing the sacred lamp of God with a statue of a pagan deity.
The Jews Survived
And Jesus was born. So, if you like to celebrate that, you should welcome the special time of Hanukkah, as Jesus did in John 10.
Enjoy this opportunity to rededicate your heart (the temple of the Holy Spirit) and proclaim the testimony of the miracles that Jesus performed for you and all of the family of God.
Happy Holiday! Or Holidays, if you have more days than one.
I leave you with a link to this movie. This is a good one. If you want an example of how people can respect each other’s observations during the holidays, this will do the trick. I have watched it twice already. It’s family friendly, but beware. There is a shooting depicted near the beginning of the hour-long film.