Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)
TITLE: The Reason for the Season (i)
By Nikki Rosen
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I grew up Jewish. Not just in name but in practice. We had rules, rules and more rules to live by: not mixing dairy with meat, abstaining from using the car on “Shabbat,” turning our noses up at bacon, ham and pork, attending Hebrew school while our friends attended the local public one and celebrating the Festival of Lights with menorah lighting, latkes and dreidals. I knew little of Christmas and it’s meaning, except the stories I heard from friends about reindeers with red noses, a fat jolly Santa Claus who came down chimneys while everyone slept, sleighs packed by elves with toys to be given only to good children and Christmas trees adorned and decked with ornaments and glitter.
As a young adult, I experienced a series of events that led me to come to know Jesus. I invited Him to be the Lord and Saviour of my life and that‘s when I came to understand the true meaning of love and sacrifice.
Whether we celebrate Hannukah or Christmas, the reason for the season is to acknowledge and respect the “gift” given. As I reflect on the scripture, “God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise,” I think of how God chose not to use a spectacular method of showering His love on us, but instead, He presented his provision for our peace in humility and simplicity. In a quiet obscure setting, the gift of eternal life through the birth of Jesus was so unremarkable, it could almost be overlooked.
I close my eyes and smile, imagining myself lighting the Hannukah candles. “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot comprehend it.” Unlike the miraculous eight days the oil lasted providing light and ultimate victory to the early Jews, Jesus is the Light of the world that burns eternally. He will never be extinguished. God gave of Himself to atone for our weaknesses, our failings, our sins, so that by our acceptance of His sacrificial gift, we never again have to maintain a heavy load of rules and regulations in an effort to work out our own salvation.
This holiday season, our family, celebrates God’s plan of redemption which began with the simple birth of His son. Jesus is the sign of God’s love, forgiveness and willingness to save, heal and deliver anyone who would accept and receive Him into their hearts and lives. The gift is not given based on how good we may or may not have been, but rather on the grace and mercy of God. That is a cause of joy for this Jewish believer who no longer has to perform rituals and rules to try to earn God’s favor.
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