Jews and Christmas

merry xmasSo last night, I went to publix supermarket to buy a few snacks for the family. Because of my heart issues, I still need to use the electric cart to get around in the store. As I cruised up and down the aisles looking for our favorite junk food, I noticed that not many people were smiling. Even though I really don’t do Christmas, it was Christmas Eve, so as I passed people in the aisles, workers and shoppers alike, I started wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. It was amazing to me to watch people’s demeanor transform with smiles as they wished me a Merry Christmas as well. Here I was a Jewish guy with a gray beard, wearing a Happy Festivus tee-shirt riding up and down the aisles in an electric cart wishing everyone Merry Christmas! ZAYDE Claus has arrived!!!!

I really don’t understand what the big deal is.  I was at the gym and they had a sign with letters strung across the main desk that said “Merry Christmas.”  I wished the woman at the desk a Merry Christmas.  She smiled and wished me the same.  She went on to say that these days she didn’t know whether to wish people a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays.  I told her that Jews don’t celebrate Christmas, but they don’t get offended if you wish them a Merry Christmas.  She said she agreed, and that Jews don’t seem offended by Christmas, it’s the “others.”  I asked which “others” she was talking about, and she said the atheists, as well as other religions seem to be making a big deal about it.

Jews have been living among Christians for a long time.  We have gotten used to Christmas, and have enjoyed many of the seasonal festivities.  Personally, I love the music and the lights and decorations.  Most people I know do as well.  I agree with people who don’t believe December 25th was the day of Yeshua’s birth, and in that sense, I see it as a seasonal celebration more than anything else.  Some people have given me small gifts, and I don’t mind giving them gifts as well.

I do know many people from the “anti-Christmas” crowd.  They take exception to the fact that Yeshua probably wasn’t born on December 25th, as well as to the Christmas tree being an adaptation of symbols that may have been used in pagan worship.  They tend to be stuck in roots rather than their adaptations.

Personally, I don’t believe roots of symbols matter more than how we use them.  The Scriptures teach that it is a sin to lift your heart to an idol.  The idol itself is nothing.  It’s the lifting of one’s heart to it that’s the sin.  Having a tree is not a problem as long as you aren’t worshipping it.  I don’t know any druids personally, so I don’t know anyone worshipping trees.  I wonder if reform druids worship bushes?  A tree is just a tree.  Lights and music are festive, and beautiful.

If some people want to use December 25th as a day to thank God that Yeshua came into the world, I don’t have a problem with it. It’s not my thing, but I respect people who do things in a different way than I do.  I expect and usually receive the same courtesy from them regarding my beliefs.

Where does this leave me?  I am enjoying the Christmas lights people used to decorate their homes; I am enjoying the special music on the radio and watching the specials on TV; and I’m taking my family to my parents so we can send out for Chinese food, which is our way of celebrating the day.

A gut yontiff to all, and to all a good night.

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3 thoughts on “Jews and Christmas

  1. My high school drama instructor was Druish (? A Druid?). He always brought it up as a lesson the first day,thy he worshipped trees. he’d thn point out how everybody laughed everytime.

    I felt the annecdote was germaine regarding cultural understanding.

    I like your blog; it always makes me smile. And it opens new thoughrs- keep it up.

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