Suggestions & Tips For The Holidays
The response below came from one of our Facebook Torah family. It’s regarding holidays and staying functional with our loved ones during this difficult time of the year… especially for those of us that are new to Torah and have recently come to understand the pagan roots of Christmas. There are a lot of great suggestions here and we hope they bring encouragement and blessings.
Q: We just began following Torah a few weeks ago, but we need some guidance about next steps on dealing with Christmas.
Praise YHVH! What an awesome joy it is to hear of more and more brothers and sisters coming to the true faith of Torah! Welcome!
This is a great test for you, coming to this truth at this time of year. But Father and Messiah will guide you through. Once the children get a hold of The Feasts, I doubt they will ever want to go back to paganism. It is currently Chanukah, so start now. Read Maccabees, get a Hanukiah, have the children help with lighting the candles if they are old enough. Go shopping at a Kosher or Jewish bookstore or grocer and pick up Chanukah items for them. Make latkes. Get some of the great books out there for kids on the Hebrew holidays. It’s not too late to get into Chanukah. If you have a hard time finding stuff in time, get online and find some crafts and stories for children that are online. Try Oytoys.com, Amazon, Shalom TV.com, Heart of Wisdom (Messianic home school resource); etc.
For me it was around Pessach. I can say for our youngest son, the only child still at home when we came into Torah in ’09, that he is TOTALLY not into the pagan holidays. Once he understood what they were about he wanted nothing to do with them (he always hated halloween – something in the children of Yah just know). Sometimes he’s better than we adults are, as we have a lifetime of family memories to battle. That first easter after I came into Torah I did go to my mom’s for dinner, after she promised to have a meat other than ham and not one hint of easter candy. We went but I was not comfortable. That was the last one we did. Now this year I am faced with a family dinner at a restaurant – my extended family has canceled the “family christmas” party and is planning on christmas in july instead but they are having dinner at a restaurant this week. We plan on going to dinner at the restaurant. I struggle with the decision but we made the mistake when we first came into Torah of being much much too harsh. I am trying to find a place to show them our love and connection to them while not compromising our Torah walk.
Make sure to invite your family or friends (even if you know they won’t come) to the Biblical events you are having. It proves to them you are not trying to give up THEM, but rather the things you are convicted of. It puts the ball in their court, as they will often try to make your decision about not wanting to spend time with family. We were always committed to family get-togethers, more than others in my family, so when we stopped doing the pagan holidays, I know it made a statement to them, but we never quit doing the other things like weddings, reunions and such.
For christmas cards, either don’t reciprocate, send Chanukah cards instead (kids love to help with these) or send cards reflective of Biblical truth that are not sent at Christmas or the other pagan holidays. For gifts, you can kindly say that you do not celebrate christmas (there are other believers who don’t do the pagan holidays too) and you very much appreciate the thought but wouldn’t feel comfortable in accepting it. If they insist or you have already gotten gifts, return what you can, donate others. People will watch to see if you just don’t do christmas in your words but are really ok with still getting gifts.
Make plans for “the day” to keep yourselves busy, it will be odd. As much as possible, observe “the day” as if it is any other day. Substituting special activities might be a helpful transition but that can become a problem. Remember most of the world will be closed, except many Chinese restaurants It’s a backwards world, most everything is open on Sabbath and closed on Dec. 25th.
You will come to find that you are SOOOO grateful to not be running around shopping with crazy people, spending all kinds of money on gifts, many of which are just duty rather than joy, and that hassle and time of decorating and undecorating are now unimaginable. I sometimes have a hard time believing I went through all that mess.
Enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1uZ_W7atDE (Chinese Food On Christmas)
Prayers and many blessings.