Hanukkah’s gift to holiday season is Christmas
November 28, 2013 10:45 PM | 1096 views | 2 2 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

On Friday night, in millions of homes throughout the United States and millions more around the world, Jewish families will light candles in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is the celebration of the survival of the Jewish people at a time in history when the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus and his armies tried to force the Jewish people to stop practicing their faith. Instead, the king wanted the Jewish people to worship idols. Jews who continued to observe the Sabbath, study the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) or circumcise their sons were killed.

To preserve their Jewish traditions and religion, a small group of Jews led by the Maccabees fought the much larger and powerful armies of the king.

Fortunately, for my family and me and for Jews and Christians in America and throughout the world, the Maccabees won.

The story of the Maccabees is told each year to remind Jews of this great victory that preserved their religion and their religious freedom.

Although rarely told, the Hanukkah story is also for Christians. If the powerful Syrian-Greek armies had succeeded in stopping the Jewish people from practicing their faith by force or by exterminating all the Jews, there could not have been a child born to Jewish parents in the town of Bethlehem more than 150 years later.

That event, which occurred 2,000 years ago, is recorded as the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

So, without Hanukkah, there might have been no Jesus, no Christ, no Christmas.

No Hanukkah, no Christmas! Maybe this year, Christians will begin to celebrate Hanukkah in recognition of this significant event leading to the birth of Christianity. Maybe too, Jews will begin to find joy in the fact that Christians throughout the world believe that the Messiah was born to Jewish parents — a Jewish man (and a rabbi or teacher, too!).

The gift of Hanukkah is Christmas! May this holiday season bring you much light. May you be a light unto the world.

Happy Hanukkah!

Merry Christmas!

Paul Lapides


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a reader
November 29, 2013
What a wonderful letter. Many of us were taught from early childhood of the close bond between Judaism and Christianity. We should never forget it but cherish it and do what we can to make sure our young are aware. This is what has shaped our World.
Guido Sarducci
November 29, 2013
Nice column, Paul. However, I think you will find that most Christians faiths are fully aware of the ties Christianity has with Judaism. We know particular significance of the fact that Jesus was born to Jewish parents and that, throughout His life. He never abandoned Judaism. His last recorded act prior to His trial and crucifixion was the observance of the Passover meal with hs disciples.

In my church, we pause during the Easter season to celebrate Passover with a Seder meal, complete with a Rabbi to lead and educate.

For the good of all, Christianity and Judaism are forever joined at the hip
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