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What Christmas Means to Me

This was a ‘meme’ someone posted this morning and the responses were numerous. They ranged from Jeremiah 10 and the cutting down of a tree (the commandments say that we’re not to even make images of creation so fake ones still fall into that category) to the roots being pagan. A few days ago I received a song via Messenger from someone who was reminding people WHOSE birthday it really is. This all goes back to the battle of putting Christ back in Christmas and I wonder all the time if he ever was really in the Christmas from its inception, and if so, in what capacity. So what does Christmas mean to me?

I was raised with a mom who had attended Bible college and made Christmas totally about the birth of Christ. We had trinkets that we put onto a felt Advent Tree every night before we went to bed. We were taught that Christmas was the birth of Jesus and we lived out the holiday to that end. We were involved in our Lutheran church singing in choirs, playing handbells and even recorders. Christmas eve services were so beautiful when thousands who never came to church packed the sanctuary and with lit candles sang, “Silent Night.” I embraced that belief system wholeheartedly because from an early age I had embraced God and Jesus wholeheartedly. I loved God and prayed to Him all the time. I loved His Word and learned Scriptures without ever attending AWANA or preparing for Bible Bees.

Because of my child-like faith, I always had questions about why, if my Bible was filled with accounts of Jewish people and Israel, there were no Jews in my church. My dad worked for Jewish people and we always took his boss a Christmas turkey because ‘they didn’t eat ham.’ Of course, my dad couldn’t explain why so I just ‘knew’ Jews didn’t eat ham, but never considered they also didn’t celebrate ChristMass?!

I was also taught by my mom, strangely enough, that someone cannot be both a Christian and Jew or be a Jew who believes in Jesus. That never sat right with me because I read my Bible and knew it was written by Jewish people, prophets of Israel and the disciples who were all Jewish. The Bible taught me about the greatest Jew I ever knew – Jesus. Then, of course, as I read the New Testament, I learned from the disciples about the greatest Jew who ever lived – the Messiah of Israel, Jesus.

My questioning went on through high school and college until God took me to a Messianic Jewish synagogue. It was there that I heard a Messianic Jewish Rabbi say, “I am not catholic so I don’t celebrate the Christ Mass.” It was such a simple statement, but such a profound one that I had to look up what a Christ Mass was because I was not catholic either. Remember Martin Luther distanced himself from catholicism (not far enough) and from him was birthed the Lutheran denomination. He eventually became one of the most rabid anti-semitic church fathers, but that’s another story.

When I learned the truth about the ‘mass’ being a ‘death sacrifice,’ I was shocked. I had already observed that Jesus was still on the crucifix in catholicism – no wonder my catholic friends were always going to the priest to confess their sins and to mass because their hope was not in Jesus’ resurrected life, but steeped in his death. Oh, ask any catholic what a ‘mass’ is and they can tell you that it does mean ‘death sacrifice.’ Thus, the Christ Mass is nothing more than a memorial to the ‘death sacrifice’ of Jesus while being sold to the world as the day of his birth. Of course, his death is important because through his blood we receive forgiveness of sin and restoration back to God, but this holiday is not being celebrated during the season of Passover when he actually did die on the cross and was resurrected three days later.

From this point in my life, I began to question everything that I did in the church setting. Where were its roots? Were they like Sha’ul taught – rooted in the holy things of God or unholy things of the nations? As I studied honestly, I learned that everything churchy was rooted in unholiness. According to Sha’ul in Romans 11, the roots of the faith are very important for the Body of Messiah because from holy roots come holy branches; from unholy roots come unholy branches. He warned the Romans about becoming arrogant over the Jewish people from whom comes salvation, Yeshua. Yet, the Romans continued in their arrogance, including ignorance through keeping the Scriptures from ordinary people, and effectively separated the Truth from an unholy lie until the branches of lies are so thick that rationalizations are made for each individual lie.

The prophet Isaiah says “Many nations will go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the house of the God of Ya‘akov! He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of Adonai from Yerushalayim” (Isaiah 2:-3).

In essence as I read these words over and over, I was not going to the mountain of the LORD to learn about His ways and to walk in His paths. I was going to Rome, to the Vatican. That realization actually convicted my heart deeply. It is not out of Rome that the Torah of God is taught nor does the Word of the LORD come from the Vatican. It comes out of Tzion and Jerusalem. I had to choose a path for my life: continue embracing the things of Rome and the vain imaginings of the Pope’s divine calling or come out from among them and embrace the holy days of the LORD coming out of Tzion and Jerusalem and the divinity of Yeshua (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

Though the choice was easy, the tearing away of warm fuzzies and cherished traditions was not and took several years. Christmas is more than cutting down a tree and decorating it as spoken by Jeremiah. It is more than the materialism that has transfixed western cultures and made everyone selfish and covetous. It is more than the heart-warming carols being sung that may or may not have a truthful Biblical message. It is more than having to separate oneself from friends and even family.

It is ‘counting the cost’ of our faith. Each of us must choose to live out the new covenant with a circumcised heart as prophesied by Jeremiah with the power of the Spirit or remain stuck on the ‘crucifix’ and the idolatrous ways of the catholic church. We must choose obedience to God’s Word and His commands over the traditions of men that effectively nullify His commands (Mark 7:13). As Peter and the apostles said, “We must obey God, not men” (Acts 5:29).

Today, Christmas means nothing to me. It is not part of my walk of faith because it is not the birth of Jesus. It is rooted in a catholic mass and I have never been nor ever will be catholic. And, neither will my Savior, Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.

©2018 Tentstake Ministries

Statute – Hebrew: Hoq


Hoq in Hebrew means ‘statute, rule or regulation’

“I am establishing my covenant (statute, rule, regulation) between me and you along with your descendants after you, generation after generation, as an everlasting covenant, to be God for you and for your descendants after you” (Genesis 17:7, CJB).

I will establish my covenant (statute, rule, regulation) as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you” (Genesis 17:7, NIV).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Hey – ‘A Window’ means ‘reveal or behold’

Koof – ‘Back of the Head’ means ‘what is behind or what is past

hoq – behold what is behind

©2011 Tentstake Ministries


Ani Modeh – I Thank You

I thank You, living and eternal King, for giving me back my soul in mercy (compassion).  Great is Your faithfulness.

Modeh (men) modah (women) ani melek chai v’kayam shehecḥezarta bi nishmahti b’cḥemlah, rabah emunatekha.

These words are said immediately upon waking from sleep.  In them we thank God for life itself, renewed each day.  Sleep, said the sages, is ‘one sixtieth of death” (Berakhot 57b).  Waking, therefore, is a miniature rebirth.  Despite its brevity, this sentence articulates a transformative act of faith; the recognition that life is a gift from God.  Expressing gratitude at the fact of being alive, we prepare ourselves to celebrate and sanctify the new day.


©Koren Siddur, 1981

Selah and the Psalms

Selah means ‘pause and carefully weigh the meaning of what is written …”  As you read what is written on Tent Stake, please ‘pause and carefully weigh’ whatever is written.  There are nuggets of gold and there are probably lumps of coal, but it is for you to study and know the Truth for yourself.  Those writings that convict and challenge, seek the Lord’s wisdom in how to proceed into a deeper walk with Him.  May you be blessed and encouraged in your walk of faith with the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua.  

The Psalms use Selah 71 times; Habakkuk, 3.  Below are some selah.   May you be blessed to find one that causes you to stop, pause and think about.  

“Who may ascend the hill of Yahweh? Who may stand in his holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from Yahweh and vindication from God his Savior.  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah” (Psalm 27:3-6).

“Who is he, this King of glory? Yahweh Almighty— he is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalm 24:10).

“To Yahweh I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah” (Psalm 3:4).

“From Yahweh comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. Selah” (Psalm 3:8).

“You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah” (Psalm 21:2).

“You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth— each man is but a breath. Selah” (Psalm 39:11).

“In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah” (Psalm 4:4).

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to Yahweh”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah” (Psalm 32:5).

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah” (Psalm 46:2-3).

“Yahweh Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah” (Psalm 46:11).

“He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. Selah” (Psalm 47:4).

“But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Selah” (Psalm 49:15).

“And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge. Selah” (Psalm 50:6).

“He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah God sends his love and his faithfulness”  (Psalm 57:3).

“But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow. Selah” (Psalm 60:4).

“Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.  You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah”  (Psalm 32:6-8).

“I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah” (Psalm 61:4).

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah” (Psalm 62:8).

“For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us …. Selah”  (Psalm 67:1).

“May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. Selah” (Psalm 67:4).

“Praise be to Yahweh, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah”  (Psalm 68:19).

“Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Selah” (Psalm 84:4).

“You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. Selah” (Psalm 85:2).

“Yahweh will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” Selah”  (Psalm 87:6).

“Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? Selah” (Psalm 88:10)

“Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David— that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah”  (Psalm 89:35-37).

“I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah” (Psalm 143:6).

“You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. Selah” (Habakkuk 3:13).

All Scriptures ©NIV 1984


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