The holidays we celebrate, and the holidays we do not celebrate … well, I do not celebrate Christmas the way I did as a child, and I have to say, our family is divided over this issue. I do not put up a Christmas tree or decorate the house with evergreens any longer. Sometimes my husband puts up a Christmas tree, although probably not this year, as we are planning to visit my husband’s parents this year at Christmas. I do decorate the house with light — candles, lots and lots of candles everywhere — and this year I am planning on celebrating Hanukkah; it is mentioned in the New Testament:
At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. Joh 10:22-23
The Feast of Dedication is Hanukkah, the celebration of the rededication of the Temple after it was defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes, and the celebration of the miracle of the oil for the lights of the menorah. We are the temple of the living God, and oil and light are representative of the seal of the Holy Spirit which is within us and the light of the world that Jesus called us to be. A very appropriate and worthy thing to celebrate!
About gift- giving: I do not purchase gifts to give to anyone on Christmas morning. I am appalled at how commercial and materialistic and covetous Christmas has degenerated into anyway, with merchants angling for your money by hawking Christmas even before Labor Day now, and children compiling long lists of expensive presents that they expect their parents to go into debt for. It is my little way of saying, “This greediness has nothing to do with the birth of our Savior!”
So my rule of thumb is: if someone is expecting a gift from me, and if not receiving one would communicate rejection of them or uncaring for them on my part, then this year I am giving a card on Hanukkah with a note included with an expression of my appreciation of them, and the name of a ministry or missionary to which we gave a gift in their honor.
For my children and grandchildren, I give something of myself they can unwrap, usually something I have made myself, or an heirloom which they love, or something my husband and I have salvaged and restored. Whatever it is, there are two rules for the gift: it cannot be purchased new from a retailer, and it has to have something of ourselves in it which has value for the receiver; it is usually a sacrificial gift of some kind.
For those who wish us Merry Christmas, I believe it would be rude to not respond. I mean, the person is greeting you with good will and kind intentions. I respond with something like, “God bless you!” and leave it at that. I try to remember not to compel anyone to have the same convictions I do about it, for conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit; my work is to be a witness; and to always be reminding myself that how I respond to someone at this season communicates love and acceptance to them or contempt and rejection, so always respond in such a way that communicates love and acceptance.
on birthdays 2007 jul 18
on holidays: trumpets 2007 sep 10
on holidays: you do not know the day or hour 2007 sep 12
happy yom teruah! 2007 sep 14
on holidays: the day of atonement 2007 sep 23
on holidays: the day of atonement, part two 2007 sep 23
on holidays: the day of atonement, part three 2007 sep 23
on holidays: tabernacles 2007 sep 29
on holidays: the 8th day of assembly 2007 oct 04
on holidays: is hanukkah a holy day? 2007 oct 30
have a non-commercial christmas 2007 nov 21
on holidays: the feast of tabernacles 2008 oct 13
on holidays: celebrating tabernacles 2008 oct 15