As we approach the beginning of Hanukkah at sundown tonight, let’s consider the Christian perspective for a brief moment. As on most roads of life, there are ditches on either side, and we are wise to keep our vehicles on the proper path so we don’t fall into one!
On one hand, there are Christians who fail to understand the significance of the Jewish roots of Christianity. Truth is, if there were no Jews…and if Jesus Himself was not a Jew…there would be no Christianity! In essence, we have a debt we cannot pay!
On the other hand, I know Christians who “worship” Judaism and attempt to follow all the traditions and customs handed down throughout the ages. It takes only a read through the Bible to know that following Jewish law (or any other law, for that matter!) leads NOT to freedom in Jesus the Messiah, but into legalism and/or worship of the created rather than the Creator.
We are not to worship the Jews, their feasts or their customs. We are simply to relate to Jews and Judaism appropriately to understand the basis of our Christian faith!
Having said that, I have been asked if Christians should celebrate Jewish feasts and holidays. My answer: have at it, as long as you acknowledge and celebrate the One who fulfilled the Jewish feasts! Jesus alone is worthy of worship! If celebrating the feasts and other Jewish holidays (such as Hanukkah) brings you closer to Jesus, then I’m all for it! There is no other reason to do so!
So, here are two resources as you consider to what degree you wish to join in Jewish celebrations:
- Why Some Christians Celebrate Hanukkah – a well-written article by ICEJ-US Branch Director, Susan Michael
- Amir Tsarfati: Christmas of Hanukkah:
To Jewish and Christian friends alike, I pray blessings upon you as you celebrate Hanukkah and/or Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!