Hanukkah vs. Christmas, the Alternative?

For numerous Biblical reasons, our family stopped celebrating Christmas many years ago.  Our relatives didn’t understand our reasonings, but accepted the decision as best they could.  One side still sent Christmas presents that we reminded our children to accept with gratefulness because ‘every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).   The other side began wrapping Christmas gifts in Hanukkah paper.  Though that was their way of respecting our decision, Hanukkah is not a Jewish substitute, replacement or alternative to Christmas.  Hanukkah and Christmas have two very different historic, spiritual backgrounds and have nothing in common with one another.

The roots and traditions of Christmas can be found in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia on which the Catholic church sprinkled holy water. They incorporated the birth of a non-Jewish Jesus and created the Christ Mass (which ironically means ‘death sacrifice’).   Those who embrace Christmas believing it as Jesus’ birthday  are doing nothing more than acknowledging catholicism as the roots of their faith (even if they are protestants who reject everything catholic).   In fact, all of Christiandom and secular society for this one day of the year become catholic in their celebrations and promote the idolatrous Saturnalia with a holiday of stars, wreathes and greenery, and gift giving.  

The events surrounding Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication (John 10:22), are found in the Apocrypha and have their roots in Jewish history during the time of Alexander the Great when he wanted to Hellenize the world.  It was during this time that the Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea to the Greek/Latin Palestine in order to expedite the destruction of the nation and people of Israel.  Alexander’s cohort Antiochus Epiphanes (means ‘antichrist manifest’) went about ‘Palestine’  forcing the Jewish people to renounce their faith in the God of Israel or die.  He sought to destroy the people and the lineage through whom the Messiah would come. The Jewish people were not allowed to circumcise their children, celebrate Passover or any of God’s other holy days, or offer sacrifices in the Temple.  As Antiochus’ armies entered Jerusalem, they desecrated the Most Holy Place in the Temple with pig’s blood.  This is the same Temple that today Muslim world leaders claim never existed; the same place where an Islamic mosque stands.   

Our family is not nor ever was catholic thus we do not celebrate Christmas by taking part in the Christ Mass.   Our children were raised to understand the historically pagan roots of Christmas and have never felt as if they were missing some great holiday. Once we learned that the prophet Jeremiah warned God’s people about cutting down a tree and bringing it into the house, we stopped having a Christmas tree with all its trimmings. We stopped doing church traditions like Advent and candle wreaths.

Instead, we taught our children about Hanukkah and the anti-semitism of the Greek/Roman world, the same anti-semitism that exists today in the church due to its catholic-rooted heritage along with the growing ideology of hatred for Israel in the much-tolerated religion of Islam.  We taught our children that obeying the commands of God are more important than traditions of men and the culture in which we live.

Our children are grown and have their own lives, but each still remembers the Maccabees and their fight to free the Jews from being Hellenized with paganism.   They light their menorahs for eight days to remember the re-dedication of the Temple Altar back to Elohim.  Each night with the candle light they remember the prophecies for when the Messiah Yeshua returns and sets His feet on the Mount of Olives. He will enter the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem and the Temple area and will cleanse a newly-built Temple from the ‘abomination of desolation’ (Matthew 24:15-26, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). Yeshua will restore Jerusalem and the nation of Israel to the Millennial glory promised in the Holy Scriptures.  

Hanukkah is not a Jewish alternative to Christmas.  Changing the wrapping paper on a present or saying “Happy Hanukkah” rather than “Merry Christmas” changes nothing about the deeply rooted differences. One is a celebration with unBiblical roots and decorated to entice the world into idolatry; the other is a memorial to those who fought against anti-semitism and stood against the destruction of  their faith in the God of Israel – the very thing the catholic Christ Mass has done for centuries. Unlike the Roman catholic-based Christmas, Hanukkah is a reminder from a century before the birth of Messiah that nothing and no one, especially a modern ‘antiochus’ will destroy the Lion of the Tribe of Judah through whom the final redemption of the world will come.

“You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing,  all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

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