Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why Santa isn't Invited to my Christmas Party

**DISCLAIMER: This post shares my own personal opinions and views.**

This year, I had an epiphany. I’ve had many epiphany’s really, but this one was..EPIC. A few years ago I began to celebrate Hanukkah (keep reading for an explanation of what Hanukkah is!) in addition to all of my normal Christmas festivities. It began with a simple gift exchange with my closest friends--me giving them typical “Christmas” gifts, and them giving me super awesome Hanukkah gifts. One of those gifts was this super cute homemade pillow one of them hand sewed! I still use it every night. It then progressed with me actually purchasing a little golden Menorah which I still have (somewhere in my room). Now, at that time, I wasn't celebrating Hanukkah for any specific reason. I was simply celebrating it because I loved the tradition of it! I went through a phase in my life when I was obsessed with Old Testament (Jewish) traditions. I wasn't seeking Judaism, I was simply embracing it. . Of course I believe that Jesus died for our sins, and fulfilled the law, but I also believe that He did not come to make the Old Testament or all the miracles that were performed by God before Him irrelevant. I LOVE some of the Jewish traditions. What can I say? I just love traditions!

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Which leads me back to my epic epiphany: I will celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. The reasoning behind this are endless. I began thinking about this issue a few months ago, when friends and I were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year'.  When people are asked what their favorite part about Christmas is, you will hear a variety of answers. Some say it’s the Holidazzle parade, Christmas markets or maybe the fancy seasonal drinks from Starbucks (one of my personal favorites), or Black Friday sales.

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However only about 3 times out of 10 will people mention the birth of the Saviour among their favorite part of the season.(that statistic is totally made up BTW but you get the point, right??), or the togetherness, warmth that comes from serving others. It's become so artificial!
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Now, before you label me as a Christmas Grinch and tell me that I will be depriving my children of years of happiness, hear me out.  

Why would we celebrate Hanukkah? Why not just exchange gifts?

1. Christmas should be about the love of Christ. About spreading "good cheer" and serving others. About being surrounded by family and friends doing good for others. It should be more about giving than receiving. Hanukkah is all about family. The tradition behind it is one that is customized with every family that celebrates the holiday. I suppose you could say that we could still celebrate Hanukkah and be greedy. After all, gifts are still given to the children, but the story behind the gifts is far more fitting for Christmas in my opinion.

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3. Another reason why we will celebrate Hanukkah: Santa Claus is a fictional character. He isn’t real. To say that he exists would be a lie. Why do people like to lie to their children???  Lying to them once (about Santa) would mean you have to lie to them about all of the other fictional creatures that we have made up over the years (the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, jack frost etc.). Is it really worth one day of happiness per year in exchange of years of lies? I don’t think so. As for me, while we were growing up Santa always brought us gifts. As I got older and realized that Santa wasn’t real I honestly can’t say it really mattered to me. I still got the gifts that I wanted, they were just from ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. Furthermore, to tell children that something that we can’t see is real when it really isn’t, is setting them up for unbelief in God. We can’t see Him, but He’s real. We can’t see Santa but he isn’t.

What is Hanukkah?

Chanukkah/Hanukkah means ‘dedication’ and it is an 8 day celebration that celebrates faith in God as well as the dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks. As described in A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays:

“When the Jews cleaned out the temple idols, they found only one small cruse of oil with only enough oil for one day to light their holy lamps.  They decided to light the menorah (the temple candelabra) even with the small amount of oil.  To everyone’s amazement, the menorah miraculously burned for eight days until new oil was available!”

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How do I celebrate Hanukkah?

Most people start out their nights with the traditional Hanukkah prayer, and light the first candle. They then play games and sing songs, and pass out gifts. Traditionally, chocolate coins are given to kids on hanukkah, but now most people give their children gifts, like most kids get on Christmas. Some parents go big, some don’t. Just like Christmas. It really all depends. There's also yummy food like doughnuts, and Latkes and bread and such! And who doesn't like food...YUM.

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So there you have it! This is why I will be celebrating Hanukkah instead of Santa. What about you? What are your opinions on whether not we should celebrate Hanukkah? Would you celebrate Hanukkah as well as Christmas? What do you think about Christians and Hanukkah?

I look forward to hearing some responses! So P