Sunday, December 29, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 8




This post is part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

Tonight the eighth candle is lit.

Gift #8 of Chanukah -YESHUA'S PRESENCE

It may surprise you to know that Yeshua observed Chanukah.  We know this from John 10:22: "Then came Chanukah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s Colonnade (Solomon's Porch).  

He also said this of Himself:  “I am the LIGHT of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the LIGHT which gives life.” (John 8:12)
Yeshua is the LIGHT.  He is the Holy One of Israel, Elohim, Adonai.  He is also the One who gave us the Torah, which is our road map for life here on Earth.  Look at this comparable verse :  

Adonai is my LIGHT and my salvation: whom should I fear?
(Psalm 27:1)

Let's don't miss the application of this.  Yeshua is the same LIGHT in the New Testament as in the Old Testament.  When we say we have decided to follow Yeshua, we are committing to follow the Torah.  Remember this verse:

Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8) 

If you believe, as I do, that Yeshua was G-d in the flesh, then He is the same G-d in both Testaments.  He has never changed.  

Recently I have read through the gospels, observing where Yeshua went, what he did and didn't do as a Jewish man.  He said to follow Him, and He left us an example to follow. I encourage you, Gail-Friends to do this, too.  He said this of His followers:


“You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven."
 (Matthew 5:14-16)


Each week, our Sabbath prayers remind us that Yeshua is the LIGHT of the world, and we are to take that LIGHT to the world around us. I pray that I, my family and all followers of Yeshua will follow the LIGHT of the World.

Be blessed, and I hope you'll enjoy this song:





You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged


Saturday, December 28, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 7



This post is part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

Tonight the seventh candle is lit.

Gift #7 of Chanukah -LIGHT

Imagine the magnificent sight of the giant menorah blazing from Mount Zion.  That light had been out for a long time, but now it could be seen for miles and miles.  It was a testament to the presence of the G-d of the Universe. 

The Temple of ADONAI sat on top of a big hill in the city of Jerusalem.  This is why Bible passages speak of going "up" to that place.  I've been to the Temple mount twice, and it is a unique experience.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Jerusalem_walls_night_3.JPG
photo from commons.wikipedia.com


The photo above is a current-day version of the Old City in Jerusalem at night. I like to imagine what is must have looked like back then, especially if seen from the Mount of Olives, just across the Kidron Valley. It must have been an inspiring sight to see that blazing menorah.

The Scriptures show us that the LIGHT in the Temple was to burn continually, not just at night. You can read this in Exodus 27:20-21 and Leviticus 24:1-4.  If ADONAI says something twice, it must be very important, right?  The LIGHT had to be maintained both morning and at night, with oil refilled and the wicks trimmed.  Plus, the holy oil had to be in production continually.  Maintaining the LIGHT in the Temple was an important responsibility.

Have you ever thought of what a gift LIGHT is?  In the first chapter of B'resheet (Genesis), we read that LIGHT was one of ADONAI's first creations.  Think about what life is like when your LIGHTS go out.  Everything stops, right? 
 

In the story of Chanukah, we are reminded that LIGHT is important to G-d.  He doesn't want us to live in darkness, physically or spiritually.  When the Temple was restored, He provided the LIGHT because it is central to worship of Him.  LIGHT drives out darkness.  LIGHT enables us to see clearly.   

LIGHT is a symbol, or type, of the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit).  Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated Chanukah, and while attending that celebration at the Temple in Jerusalem, declared Himself to be the LIGHT of the World.  I'll talk about that tomorrow and how this relates to Chanukah today, as well as the spiritual lessons of LIGHT in our lives.


You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged

 

I sometimes share my posts with these friends:
  Spiritual Sundays  GRAND Social      Modest Mom Monday Link-up      The Art of Homemaking Mondays

 Hearth and Soul Link Party
   BLOGGING GRANDMOTHERS LINK PARTY     Share Your Cup Wednesday  Wordless Wednesdays    Classical Homemaking Link-Up     
    Favorite Things Home and Garden Thursday at Delightsome Life  Paula's Weekend No Rules Blog Party Friendship Friday 
Sunday Thoughts Link-Up
 OVER THE MOON LINKY PARTY!

Friday, December 27, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 6





This post is part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

Tonight the sixth candle is lit.

Gift #6 of Chanukah - DEDICATION

For eight days, ADONAI performed the miracle of the oil.  Even though there was only enough oil for one day, it burned for a full eight days.  While it was burning, the Jews were preparing and consecrating a new supply of oil.  When that oil was ready, the Temple was DEDICATED to ADONAI.

Stop and think about this:  what if they had decided to just continue to let the oil burn and decided not to prepare and consecrate more?  But they did not.  They knew that ADONAI had instructed them to do things a certain way, and they obeyed without hesitation.  They also set an example for us to follow.

Each year at Chanukah, I'm reminded that ADONAI demands, and well deserves, holiness. He has certain ways of doing things that often don't make sense to us.  For instance this "strange fire" incident in Leviticus 10:


"But Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon, each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered unauthorized fire before ADONAI, something he had not ordered them to do.

 At this, fire came forth from the presence of Adonai and consumed them, so that they died in the presence of AdonaiMoshe said to Aharon, “This is what Adonai said:

‘Through those who are near me I will be consecrated,
and before all the people I will be glorified.’

Yes, Aharon's sons had their own idea about how to do the Temple service, and it ended in their deaths.   Why?  Because ADONAI had told them how to do it, and He was serious.

Today, ADONAI has somehow become disassociated from the belief and worship of many people.  His holiness righteousness have been replaced with a "feel-good, anything- goes" message.  This message is all about "you" and your success and future and destiny.  This message is fleshly, self-centered and deadly. Like the strange fire incident, it is not ADONAI'S way of doing things.

ADONAI is full love love, mercy and grace.  He also full of holiness, righteousness and truth.  This verse is important to remember:
 
Mercy and truth are met together; 
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
(Proverb 85:10)


Chanukah reminds us that the oil was prepared and consecrated according to ADONAI'S instructions, and our lives are to be the same.  We are to live our lives according to His laws, which He has so lovingly recorded for our good.  It is from this concept that we say, "L-Chaim" which means "His Ways are Life!".

As the Jews RE-DEDICATED the Temple, Chanukah is our reminder to RE-DEDICATE our lives, our homes, and our service to Him in accordance with His holy, loving will and ways.


You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged


Thursday, December 26, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 5





This post is a part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.


Tonight the fifth candle is lit.
Gift #5 of Chanukah is -VICTORY
 
The battles fought by the Maccabees were long and difficult.  It wasn't an easy over- night VICTORY, but they won in the end.  Many Jews were tortured and killed in the struggle to regain Israel and the Temple. 
This passage from the Maccabees inspires me:
 "When all his followers saw the host coming against them, they said to Judas, 'How can so few of us fight against so many? Besides, we have had nothing to eat all day, and we are exhausted.' Judas replied: 'Many can easily be overpowered by a few; it makes no difference to Heaven to save by many or by few. VICTORY does not depend on numbers; strength comes from Heaven alone . . . Heaven will crush them before our eyes. You need not be afraid of them'" (1 Maccabees 3:17-21).
This mighty warrior for G-d was absolutely sure they would win the VICTORY because his faith was in the strength of G-d alone.  How did Judas know this?  Because His father, Mattathias, had taught Him the Torah as a child.  When he became a man, he had learned the stories of G-d's mighty power to win VICTORY as he sat in the synagogue each week.  The Maccabee sons had grown up learning about the VICTORIES of heroes like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses.
Unlike believers of today, the people of that time period did not have a Bible in their hands.  The scrolls were kept in the synagogues, and each week men would attend to hear the Scriptures read.  They would then take the teachings home to their wives and children. Daily, they repeated the spiritual anthem of Israel, the Sh'ma:
“Hear, oh Isra’el! Adonai our G-d, Adonai is one; and you are to love Adonai your G-d with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
I'm inspired by the story of Chanukah because of the clear message of VICTORY.  We face battles in our lives, too, Gail-Friends.  We all experience troubles and trials, such as problems with finances, relationships, and careers.  We are even facing battles with the forces of darkness in our country right now.  We can give in to fear, or we can stand and fight in the strength of the L-RD.
I learned this lesson years ago while going through a court battle.  I cried out to the L-RD for help and He gave me this verse to stand on: 
"Some trust in horses, and some trust in chariots. 
But we will trust in the name of our G-d." (Proverbs 20:7)
As I meditated on the verse, G-d showed me to replace horses with "lawyers", and chariots with "judges".  I repeated it over and over and trusted Him to win the victory.  In the end, I won the VICTORY!  Now, when faced with a battle, I turn to G-d and trust Him to fight for me. 


You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged



Wednesday, December 25, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 4


This post is part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

Tonight, we light the fourth candle.

Gift #4 of Chanukah - PROVISION

As I remember the miracle of the oil, I've been meditating on how Hashem met their need for oil.  Plain, old olive oil would not suffice.  The oil for the Temple service was to be HOLY, and had to very specially prepared and consecrated.  The process took eight days.  ADONAI saw the zeal with which the Jews worked to restore the Temple worship.  They were very eager to resume obedience to His will and ways. This was Hashem's desire, too, and He performed a miracle.  He PROVIDED Holy oil that lasted a full eight days until the consecrated supply was ready for use.

One of the Hebrew names of Hashem is ADONAI YIR'EH, which means PROVIDER.  The first reference to this name is in the story of Abraham's preparation of his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.  (See Genesis 22) 

So Abraham called the place ADONAI YIR'EH will provide.  And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the L-RD it will be PROVIDED'. (Genesis 22:14)

Abraham was on Mount Zion, which is where the Temple was later built.  This is the same place where He performed the miracle of the oil.   He PROVIDED.

The Scriptures say that His eyes are always on that place. I've stood there twice, filled with awe, as I touched those precious stones.  And I will always praise Him that He miraculously PROVIDED the money for both of my trips to Israel.  

In this busy, work-a-day time in which we live, we sometimes forget that everything we have is PROVIDED by ADONAI YIR'EH - our PROVIDER.  Every cell of our bodies was created and functions by His PROVISION.  The moon, sun, stars and the air we breathe all function because of His PROVISION.  

I used to think that my job was the source of my income.  That is, until the day I lost that job, my health, and much more.  A single woman at that time, with no money in my bank account, I lay flat on my back, unable to work.  I learned the wonderful lesson that ADONAI YIR'EH was my source.  Money was given to me  for eight weeks through His miraculous PROVISION.  After He restored my health, He immediately PROVIDED  a new job.  I've never forgotten that lesson, and I praise Him and thank Him daily for the smallest things, because I know they all come from His loving hand.
 
I pray that I, my family, and all believers will always remember that ADONAI-YIR'EH is our PROVIDER.

You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged

  I sometimes share my posts with these friends:
  Spiritual Sundays  GRAND Social      Modest Mom Monday Link-up      The Art of Homemaking Mondays

 Hearth and Soul Link Party
   BLOGGING GRANDMOTHERS LINK PARTY     Share Your Cup Wednesday  Wordless Wednesdays    Classical Homemaking Link-Up     
    Favorite Things Home and Garden Thursday at Delightsome Life  Paula's Weekend No Rules Blog Party Friendship Friday 
Sunday Thoughts Link-Up
 OVER THE MOON LINKY PARTY!

 
 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 3



This post is a part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

Tonight, the third candle is lit on the menorah and we continue to remember the story of the Maccabees.

GIFT #3 OF CHANUKAH - FAITHFULNESS

After the armies of the enemy were defeated, the Jews returned to Jerusalem and reclaimed it in the name of ADONAI.  Their holy Temple lay in ruins, with burned walls and waist-high weeds.  The worst part was the idol that bore the face of Antiochus  They mourned, wept, ripped their clothes, and threw dust on their heads when they saw these sights.

That picture of passion for ADONAI'S house touches my heart.  Even though their task was difficult, these people showed their FAITHFULNESS to ADONAI'S Word and His Ways.

Even though their grief was heavy, they immediately set about cleansing and restoring the Temple.  The pagan alter and idol were removed. (1 Maccabees 4:44-46). They were FAITHFUL to ADONAI's instructions in the Torah about how things were to be done.  A new, holy alter was built and preparations were made to rededicate it to the L-rd.

They found one container of oil  in the Temple that was unpolluted.  This was evidenced by the priest's unbroken seal.  Unfortunately, the cruise  held only one day's supply of oil.  They poured the holy oil into the lamp stand, lit the flame, and went about their Temple business.  Imagine their amazement and JOY when the oil did not run out!  The holy oil lasted for eight days until a new supply of oil could be consecrated.   This is why we say about Chanukah, "A great miracle happened here." 

Each year as we read through the Torah, I am struck by the detailed instructions G-d left for us to follow, not only for His Temple, but also for our lives, which is where He lives now.  His laws had been recorded and studied and obeyed by men who were FAITHFUL.  These FAITHFUL ones believed G-d, and they obeyed no matter how time consuming and difficult those instructions were.

The actions  of the Jews who rebuilt and consecrated the Temple are an example to follow.   What ADONAI asks of believers today is minuscule compared to what was required of those who've gone before us.  The New Testament book of Hebrews talks about their FAITHFULNESS, and did you know that Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated Chanukah?  I'll be talking about that in future posts in this series.

I pray that I, my family, and all believers will remember to follow G-d's instructions (not a man's, a religion's, or a denomination's), and that He will commend us for FAITHFULNESS when we stand before Him.

You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged



Monday, December 23, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 2



This post is part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

GIFT #2 OF CHANUKAH - COURAGE

The actions of the Maccabees left us an example of great COURAGE in action. When the officials came to Modein, the home of the Maccabee family, and demanded worship of, as well as a sacrifice to, the pagan gods, everyone around them bowed their knees in submission. Not the Maccabees!

Mattathias was an old man with five sons.  This tzaddik (righteous man) had reared his sons to obey the Torah, and they all stood together in agreement with their father's bold statement: "My family and I will always keep the promises our ancestors made to G-d.  We will never give up our faith or disobey even one of G-d's laws.  We will not obey Antiochus." (1 Maccabees 2:19-20)

A fellow Jew stepped forward and said he would offer the required sacrifice.  Mattathias immediately killed that man and the spokesman for Antiochus, and then destroyed the sacrificial alter.  He and his sons left their home and all of their possessions to hide in the hills in preparation for war.  This family of brave men fought many battles against their enemy and eventually won complete victory over the pagans.  Jerusalem was re-captured by the Jews, and temple worship to ADONAI was restored. 

What an example these men of COURAGE are for us today.  Instead of giving in to fear, they kept their belief in Hashem and continued to obey Him.  Yes, it cost them a great deal, but they were willing to pay that price.  Victory was not easy, but it came.

I've heard my husband say many times, "There is a very fine line between being a coward and standing up against evil.  COURAGE is a decision."

I pray for myself, my family, and all believers to have the COURAGE of the Maccabees to stand up against all efforts to turn us away from worship and obedience to ADONAI.

** This is a repost of an earlier writing

You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged



Sunday, December 22, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 1

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 1 **




As we lit the first night of Chanukah, I thought how much life in America has changed since this time last year.  Over the last twelve months, we have seen Christians and Jews attacked, tortured and beheaded by I-SIS over and over again.  Just this past week, we had another terrorist attack in our country. (**Please note that this post was written in 2015, and is being re-posted.)

Each year at Chanukah, we remember how the Maccabees stood up against an ungodly tyrant and turned people back to ADONAI.  They refused to comply with the demands of Antiochus Epiphanes to worship the pagan gods of Greece.

Mattathias shouted, "My family and I will always keep the promises our ancestors made to G-d.  We will never give up our faith or disobey even one of G-d's laws. We will not obey Antiochus!"  (1 Maccabees 2:19-20)

The bravery of the Maccabee family inspired others to fight, and victory was eventually won.  Jerusalem and the temple were once again consecrated to ADONAI.

GIFT #1 OF CHANUKAH - REMEMBRANCE

Like Israel in the days of the Maccabees, America has become more and more pagan.  We've seen a Christian woman put in jail because she refused to marry a homosexual couple.  Pastors are being persecuted for preaching the truth of the Bible.  Abortionists (murderers) are held up as good people, while those who speak out against the murders are called haters.

We have reached the days of strong delusion.  We live in the time of "what's right is wrong, and what's wrong is right."  We will soon have to choose whether we will obey G-d or man.

Therefore, let's use the first gift of Chanukah.  Let's REMEMBER the story of the Maccabees.  Let's REMEMBER their courage and strength.  Let's REMEMBER their faith and follow their example of obedience to ADONAI.

These are dangerous times, but we must not give in to fear.  I pray for myself, my family, and for all believers, to stand strong on the side of ADONAI and to continue to obey HIM.  He is our SHIELD, and our EVER-PRESENT HELP IN TIME OF TROUBLE.

Psalm 91 is my go-to Psalm in times like these.  I held on to those words while going through four hurricanes in the summer of 2004.  I cling to them now, as I REMEMBER ADONAI'S protection.

** This writing is part of the series 8 Gifts of Hanukkah, and is being re-posted.

You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
 and see how we celebrate the birth of Yeshua combined with Chanukah: Christmas Unplugged



Friday, December 20, 2019

Thankful Thursday - When A Man Loves A Woman


It's way past time for me to catch up on my gratitudes, Gail-Friends.  I haven't done a Thankful Thursday post in over a month. Explanation later in this post.  Oh, and read on for the part about when a man loves a woman.

Thanksgiving was great.  The kids came over and we had a great turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Didn't it turn out pretty?


I made the most delicious sugar-free turtle cheesecake with caramel sauce.   We avoided a mishap when Jem was helping me before the meal.  I told him to pour the giblet gravy in the gravy bowl.  He picked up the hot caramel sauce by mistake.  Thankfully, I caught it before we had giblet gravy poured on the cheesecake!  We all had a big laugh over that one!


So blessed and thankful to spend time with our grandson.  He's getting so tall.  He loved petting Toonie Woo, Esq.  That's our cat's new name.  We got it from an episode of All Creatures Great and Small.  (Long story for another day.)  It was a lovely Thanksgiving Day.


We've been nursing our poor, sick puppy.  She's had a bout with gastroenteritis.  Thankfully, she is better, but still having tummy trouble occasionally.  Please say a prayer for her.

at the vet's office

 I was blessed to spend time with my long-time friend, Barbara, with a visit to our local tea room.  It was her birthday and if I told you her age, you wouldn't believe me (and she would kill me!).  Isn't she gorgeous?  She's beautiful - inside and out!  I' so thankful to have a friend like her.



Jem and I went to Cracker Christmas this month.  I always enjoy seeing the crafts and listening to the music.  Jem also enjoys visiting with his old Civil War re-enactor buddies there.  I like visiting the old Cracker houses and taking photos of them.  This one with the pretty rose decal dishes always reminds me of my grandmother.  These are the dishes I wrote about in my story, Grannie's Dishes, which was published in the book Christmas Moments. The story behind that story (!) was the beginning of my unplugging of the Christmas machine, which was my previous post.


As I said in that post, I celebrate Christmas differently now.  No rush, no stress, no madness - only worship and peace.  We went to a wonderful concert last week put on by the Space Coast Flute Orchestra.  We were introduced to an instrument I'd never seen before.  The contra-bass flute.  Such a lovely sound it makes, too.  Who knew??


 My daughter, Amanda, and I attended a presentation of White Christmas at the Cocoa Village Playhouse.  We both LOVED it!  We have a tradition of watching the movie together and this play did not dissapoint.  Our favorite part is the "Sisters" song.  The finale was beautiful with the poppy-red costumes.  Such a great production.  I'm thankful that we have two playhouses in our area.  They both do a great job of bringing quality theatre to the "country" as I love to call it. Sorry for the bad pics.  My phone doesn't take good photos in the dark.  I wish you could see what I saw, Gail-Friends.


 Our friends, Carlleen and Eddy sent us the cutest Hanukkah gifts - a doxie and a latke peeler!  Aren't they the cutest?  We cracked up!!!


Speaking of gifts and good friends, LaVonne and David sent us these great presents when they were visiting New Orleans.  I talked Jem into modeling my scarf.  We are so thankful for these friends and the many others in our lives.



I love this man.  When I asked him to model the sparkly, girly scarf for the picture, he said, "Okay . . ."  He is such a good sport.  He always says, "Gail, I'd sleep out in the rain if that's the way it's gotta be..." (That's a line from the song, When A Man Loves a Woman, y'all. I'm so thankful for that kind of love.)  Yesterday, I told him I wanted to go look at a camper and he said, "Are you gonna make me sleep out in the rain?"  I cracked up!  You know, I think he really would sleep out in the rain if I asked him to.  I love him soooooo and am thankful that God brought us together.  Our love story is coming soon!

This photo was taken at the air museum where he is the curator.  Isn't it gorgeous? The sunset - not the plane.  Well, it is gorgeous, too.  It's the Tico Belle, an old WW2 plane that is still in use.  Jem is so thankful to work (and volunteer) there. He loves airplanes and was an "ordie" on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier while serving in the Navy.


I had a wonderful time last night with some of my doTerra friends.  I made this fruit plate and didn't it turn out pretty?  So easy, too.  I love star fruit. 


I've been busy working on more books to be published.  I'm thankful to have Golden Musings now in print and as an e-book.  I'll be doing a book talk at a the Melbourne library on Sunday, December 22.  Pray for me, Gail-Friends, that God's Kingdom will come and be done through me and through my writing.  That's my heart's desire.

Now I'm working on these books:

Bird Blessings
31 Days of Wisdom from Proverbs
31 Days of Prayer for My Adult Children
and
A Golden Love Story - how God brought Jem and me together after forty years of wandering in the desert.  I'm thinking of the sub-title, "It All Started With a Cheeseburger".  What do ya think?

Well, Hanukkah starts on Sunday night, so I've got the menorahs and candles ready.  Not sure if I'll be able to do more posts until after Hanukkah, so Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you all, dear Gail-Friends.  I pray your holidays are full of worship and peace.



Thursday, December 12, 2019

Unplug the Christmas Machine

Christmas Unplugged



I'm blessed to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas.  I celebrate Christmas very differently than most, and very differently from the way I did it in years past.   I read a quote this week that sums up my outlook on Christmas celebrations.

"Whenever Christmas begins to burden, it’s a sign that I’ve taken on something

 of the world and not of Christ."

 

Years ago, I read a book, Unplug the Christmas Machine, that had a profound impact on me.  I was a young mother at the time, and completely worn out by "Christmas".  I ran myself ragged shopping, decorating, entertaining, being entertained...and you know the rest of the story.  After reading the book, I decided to do Christmas differently, and it has evolved over time.  Slowly, I began to do gifts differently.  I shopped, spent, and decorated less, and began to worship more.

Who is Christmas about, after all?  Isn't it about Yeshua?  Weren't the first gifts brought to Him?  I can remember, as a small girl, feeling like something was missing at Christmas.  Yes, I knew and read the story of His birth...but what was I giving Him?  My little girl heart knew He was being ignored... in spite of all the decorations, presents, parties, and hoopla.  Even as a small girl, I sensed He was grieved.

Somewhere along the line, in my desire to love Him and honor Him, I read about the pagan basis for Christmas.   I learned that Yeshua was most likely not born in the winter because the shepherds were tending their flocks in the hills.  I learned that the Bible says not to put a tree in your house and decorate it (Jer.10:1-5).  And don't even get me started on Santa Claus.  I had to ask myself if God is pleased by telling children that lie.  I have a grandson now, and I much prefer that he learn about God's appointed feasts and festivals than the world's.  I'm thankful that his parents feel the same.

Yeshua celebrated those feasts, including Hanukkah.  He also said, "I have not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it."  I don't think He meant to stop celebrating His feasts, but to realize in celebrating them that He is the fulfillment of them.  They are all tactile, hands-on lessons that teach us about His character and about our relationship to Him.  Yeshua is, after all, the God of the Old Testament, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  If he said we would observe His feasts forever, shouldn't we be doing that and follow His example? 

For that reason, I celebrate Hanukkah - with Yeshua as the Light of the World.  I observe Christmas as the fact that  He was born as a man.  I worship Him - not the Christmas tree, or the presents, or the whole machine that Christmas has become.  I'm much happier doing it that way.

For me, Christmas is a time of peace and of drawing close to Him.  I thank Him that He was willing to become a man and to suffer as we do in this earth, to understand our frailty.  I thank Him that He didn't give in to sin so that He could be that perfect offering for sin.  I thank Him for His light that has shined into my heart and taken root there.  I thank Him for the blessing of being in His family and for the gift of His Word to guide my life.  I thank Him for the Ruach Hakodesh living inside me. I am so glad He came.


What's funny about being a Messianic Jewish believer is that sometimes Hanukkah comes before Christmas, and then sometimes it's just the opposite.  So, mostly, we celebrate all month long -  that Yeshua was born and that He was the Light of the World.  We put up blue and white lights and listen to Hanukkah music as well as songs of Christmas that celebrate our Savior's birth.  We make special foods and fellowship with friends.  Yes, I do give gifts, but they are quite minimal.  No more pushing myself to keep up with the Christmas machine.  I play music, and go to free concerts that focus on Yeshua.  I ride around and look at the lights and worship my Savior.  My heart is so full of gratitude and worship.

This video is so wonderful.  I hope you'll watch it, and stand up with me and praise and worship Yeshua - the King of Kings and L-rd of Lords.   Halelu-jah!  (a great Hebrew word that means Praise God!).To learn more about Hanukkah, please enjoy: Yeshua is the Light