A Jewish Christmas December 2016
My favorite book, and I have read it cover to cover about six times, is the Bible. Ninety-three percent of it was written by Jewish prophets, leaders, and scholars. My wife is Jewish by birth though not by faith, and therefore my son is Jewish by birth though not by faith. My favorite aunts and uncles and cousins from my wife’s side of the family are all Jewish. I have thoroughly enjoyed Seders, and celebrations in their homes where the traditions of the Torah are carried to perfection.
Reading in Zechariah (8:4,5) it says, “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem . . .the streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” (7) I will save my people (the Jews) from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem.” In 1945, other than the promises we have just read, this would have been unthinkable. Millions of God’s chosen people had been killed in Germany, Austria, and Poland; and millions more would be killed still in places like Russia. Only in America did they prosper. Only in America did they build their Temples, and celebrate their holidays, and keep their traditions completely.
Why is Israel, this tiny little country, so important? In the Little Town of Bethlehem, where King David was born, where Rachel is buried, where Naomi lived, where Boaz was the master, a child was born. He would be called the Bread of Life and since Beth Lehem means the house of bread, this makes perfect sense. It was a very small city. And the Messiah was predicted to come from there in Micah 5:2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Mary and Joseph both were from ages past great greats of King David. In Isaiah 7:14, the conditions of Jesus birth are predicted; “the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”
And back to Zechariah (8:23), “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’ ” And that one Jew is Jesuah, who we now call Jesus.
In the year 539 BC the prophet Daniel wrote in his book 9:25 about the timing, of what we now celebrate. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” The Jews were expecting their Messiah and often, even among his own discliples asked, “Are you the one?” In John 14:19, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.’ ”
So this little goyim, non-Jewish boy, lives in awe of all of this Hebraic heritage and in wonder of the well-predicted Yeshua Hamashiach, the Christ, who arrived on time. So Merry Christmas, my friends. We have much to be grateful for from this heritage.