Hanukkah and Christmas: Two Separate Things
Hanukkah or Chanukah, will be a popular question asked in the coming weeks. While the word is spelled differently, it has the same meaning. Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is a Jewish celebration that is held for eight days in December. Many people confuse Hanukkah with Christmas; often it is called the Jewish Christmas which is technically wrong. Jewish people do not celebrate Christmas, and many find it offensive when people call their celebration the Jewish Christmas.
Chanukah is a festival of light, the celebration dates back in history to a time when the Jewish people fought for their freedom and beliefs against the Greek. Christmas is celebrated by Christians and is more a religious celebration, while Hanukkah or Chanukah is a historical celebration. Some suggest that the belief in the light of their lives and faith is also part meaning of Hanukkah.
For many of us with children that celebrate Hanukkah or Chanukah it can be a difficult time of year. Those with children may find it difficult to explain the difference between Christmas and Hanukkah. While there are some similarities, both holidays celebrate with prayer, feasts, and gifts. The concept is very different. Those that celebrate Christmas receive gifts on December 25th, while those that celebrate Hanukkah give and receive gifts for eight days. It is important when you are teaching young children to explain the significance of Hanukkah, and how it differs from Christmas. They will no doubt be asked by their peers why they do not celebrate Christmas. Some children may be ignorant to the fact; this is a great time for your children to educate their friends.
No matter which holiday you celebrate, both are a time for recollection. Hanukkah is a time for reflection and spending time with loved ones to remember. It is an excellent time to donate time or money to the less fortunate. The Jewish people cal this tzedakah which is the word for charity. Often people will donate money to the less fortunate.
Hanukkah or Chanukah is a beautiful time and an excellent way to teach your children some life skills. They will no doubt be faced with some harsh treatment from others; if you provide them with the necessary tools they will be more prepared and will better understand the difference between Hanukkah and Christmas.
Hanukkah and Christmas: Two Separate Things
No Hanukkah No Christmas Know Hanukkah Know Christmas – (Dec 28, 2019)
As human beings, we often have a difficult time perceiving what the Lord is doing in our life. We are limited by the passage of time, the confusion of present circumstances, and a lack of understanding regarding God’s goals and His means of accomplishing them. That’s why studying the lives of men and women in Scripture helps us see how the Lord worked in previous generations. God’s relationships with the faithful in earlier times are helpful examples for us today.
When we face uncertainty, we can look to Moses’ example. His life was unpredictable and full of hardship, yet he “endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:27). In Greek, the root word for “endurance” refers to the capacity to bear up under difficulty. Moses successfully persevered under pressure by keeping his focus on God rather than on the events surrounding him.
From Moses’ example, we learn that this is what the Lord desires for us as well. Although we may want out of a difficult situation as soon as possible, this may not be God’s aim. It is not His goal to make us as comfortable as can be but, rather, to transform us into the image of His Son. And endurance helps us get there.
If God calls us to endure pain, hardship, or uncertainty, we can find encouragement in knowing we’re never alone. Part of “seeing Him who is unseen” is realizing that God’s grace and comfort carry us through every situation. The Lord doesn’t want us to simply grit our teeth and bear hardship; He desires that we trust Him and bring glory to His name through our dependence.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)
In context, this wonderful promise may apply specifically to those living believers recognized as “sheep” by Christ when He returns to judge the nations (or “Gentiles”) at the end of the age. For them He has prepared a wonderful kingdom in which they can fully serve their great King here on Earth. The “goats,” on the other hand, will be sent away into “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
But we remember also that the Lord Jesus Christ has also prepared a mansion in heaven for His faithful disciples. “In my Father’s house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
He is, even now, preparing for us that glorious place. One day, it will be fully prepared, and we shall see it when He brings it down from heaven, as John did in his great vision. “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).
It will, indeed, be a wonderful place of “many mansions,” and John describes some of its beauties in the Bible’s last two chapters. But that is not all. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Therefore, we can say with Paul: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). He has indeed prepared a great eternal future for His redeemed children. HMM
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
A few days after these words appear in print the old year of our Lord will have gone to join the long procession of years and centuries that move on into the shadows of a past that can come no more.
In the year just gone the world has been writing history, not with ink only but with blood and tears; not in the quiet of the study but in violence, terror and death in city streets and along the borders of nations; and other and milder but more significant history has been written by incredible feats of power in sending man-made objects out to circle the moon and the sun….
To each one fortunate enough to live out [this year], God will have given 365 days broken into 8,760 hours. Of these hours, 2,920 will have been spent in sleep, and about the same number at work. An equal number has been given us to spend in reverent preparation for the moment when days and years shall cease and time shall be no more. What prayer could be more spiritually appropriate than that of Moses, the man of God: “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). WOS145-147
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Amen.
You did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago. Isaiah 22:11
There’s a natural spring that rises on the east side of the city of Jerusalem. In ancient times it was the city’s only water supply and was located outside the walls. Thus it was the point of Jerusalem’s greatest vulnerability. The exposed spring meant that the city, otherwise impenetrable, could be forced to surrender if an attacker were to divert or dam the spring.
King Hezekiah addressed this weakness by driving a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the spring into the city where it flowed into the “Lower Pool” (see 2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:2–4). But in all of this, Hezekiah “did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago” (Isaiah 22:11). Planned what?
God Himself “planned” the city of Jerusalem in such a way that its water supply was unprotected. The spring outside the wall was a constant reminder that the inhabitants of the city must depend solely on Him for their salvation.
Can it be that our deficiencies exist for our good? Indeed, the apostle Paul said that he would “boast” in his limitations, because it was through weakness that the beauty and power of Jesus was seen in him (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). Can we then regard each limitation as a gift that reveals God as our strength?
Reflect & Pray
What are your deficiencies? How are they helping you gain trust in God?
God, I’m weak. I pray that others would see that You are my strength.
Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.—Colossians 3:17.
Yea, through life, death, through sorrow and through
He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed:
Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning,
Christ the beginning for the end is Christ.
F. W. H. Myers.
Let this be thy whole endeavor, this thy prayer, this thy desire,—that thou mayest be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only.
Thomas Á Kempis.
Do what is pleasing to Jesus Christ, and neglect nothing which pleases Him.
To “do all things in the name of Jesus” is the lesson of a life; do not be angry with yourselves, nor despair of ever learning it, because thou art slow to learn the first few syllables. When thou hast learned to do all things to Jesus, it will shed pleasure over all dull things, softness over all hard things, peace over all trial and woe and suspense. Then will life be glad, when thou livest to Jesus; and how sweet death, to die in Jesus; with Him, and to Him, and in Him, to live for evermore.
Edward B. Pusey.
“Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1
This fact is essentially a promise; for what our Lord was He is, and what He was to those with whom He lived on earth, He will be to all His beloved so long as the moon endureth.
Having loved”: here was the wonder! That He should ever have loved men at all is the marvel. What was there in His poor disciples that He should love them? What is there in me?
But when He has once begun to love, it is His nature to continue to do so. Love made the saints “his own” — what a choice title! He purchased them with blood and they became His treasure. Being His own, He will not lose them. Being His beloved, He will not cease to love them. My soul, He will not cease to love thee!
The text is well as it stands: “to the end,” even till His death the ruling passion of love to His own reigned in His sacred bosom. It means also to the uttermost. He could not love them more: He gave Himself for them. Some read it, to perfection. Truly He lavished upon them a perfect love, in which there was no flaw nor failure, no unwisdom, no unfaithfulness, and no reserve.
Such is the love of Jesus to each one of His people. Let us sing to our Well-beloved a song.