Category: 12_2023-5

What do we do with Christmas?

What do we do with Christmas?

By Eric Carlson in 12_2023-5 on December 1, 2023

As Jews we are tied to this Gentile Christmas season whether we like it or not. The ENTIRE WORLD (secular and Christian alike) pauses December 25th to recognize and celebrate the birth of a Jewish baby, the Mashiach 2,000 years ago. Such a momentous event that has changed time! Before you judge me hear me out for a moment. This time of year, I listen to the holiday channel on Sirius Radio. I love the jazz/Big Band music of Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Garibaldi, Louis Armstrong, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, most are jazz songs or winter songs that should play all winter but don’t. And yes, there are Christmas Songs being played! Many singing about “Born is the King of Israel”, “O little town of Bethlehem”, “O Come Emmanuel” “Joy to the World” based on Gen 3, and Psalm 96 & 98! A majority of the holiday songs are written and performed by Jews! How did this event get so far off track when even its music is Jewish? It’s about the supernatural birth of Yeshua, Mashiach, an event that affected all humanity:

Luke 2:7-14. and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in cloth and laid him down in a feeding trough, because there was no space for them in the living-quarters. 8 In the countryside nearby were some shepherds spending the night in the fields, guarding their flocks, 9 when an angel of ADONAI appeared to them, and the Sh’khinah of ADONAI shone around them. They were terrified; 10 but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people. 11 This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 Here is how you will know: you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” 13 Suddenly, along with the angel was a vast army from heaven praising God: 14 “In the highest heaven, glory to God! And on earth, peace among people of good will!”

This story of Yeshua’s birth begins over 1,283 years prior to His arrival with a Gentile woman who loved the Jewish people, Ruth! Ruth was a Moabite whose Jewish husband died. Instead of going back to her own people, she clung to her mother-in-law Naomi:

Ruth 1:16-19. But Rut said, “Don’t press me to leave you and stop following you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. 17 Where you die, I will die; and there I will be buried. May ADONAI bring terrible curses on me, and worse ones as well, if anything but death separates you and me.” 18 When Na’omi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her. 19 So the two of them went on until they came to Beit-Lechem. When they arrived in Beit-Lechem, the whole city was stirred with excitement over them. The women asked, “Can this be Na’omi?”

This is the model for the church’s relationship to Israel and the Jewish people. Ruth’s reputation, her humility, and Character preceded her! She was already known by the city elders at the city gate for her loyalty, support, and commitment to Naomi through her gleaning in Boaz’s fields, Elimelekh’s kinsman redeemer. She catches the eye of Boaz who offers to take Ruth as his wife and be Naomi’s redeeming kinsman. Boaz takes the case to the elders at the city gate and Ruth and Naomi are redeemed by Boaz. Where is Boaz from? Bethlehem. Where is Yeshua born??? Bethlehem! The people there make a prophetic proclamation at the city gate over the gentile Ruth when she is redeemed by Boaz, her Jewish husband:

Ruth 4:11-12. All the people at the gate and the leaders said, “We are witnesses. May ADONAI make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Le’ah, who between them built up the house of Isra’el. Do worthy deeds in Efrat; become renowned in Beit-Lechem. 12 May your house, because of the seed ADONAI will give you from this young woman, become like the house of Peretz, whom Tamar bore to Y’hudah.”

Boaz and Ruth became husband and wife and Ruth became pregnant:” …Ruth … gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: ‘”Blessed be ADONAI, who today has provided you a redeemer! May his name be renowned in Isra’el. ‘Oved. He was the father of Yishai the father of David.’” (Ruth 4:11-17)

Ruth is the great-grandmother of David, Yeshua’s lineages is of the Son of David. Those blessings over Ruth were prophetic and referred to the coming Messiah who would be born in Bethlehem from the lineage of Ruth and Boaz. The women referred to Obed as a redeemer, just as Boaz was, but prophetically, they were speaking about the Redeemer of all humanity: Yeshua!

Those elders at the city gate thought that Boaz’s redeeming Elimelekh’s estate was just another real-estate settlement yet when it happened the Spirit of God falls on them when Ruth is legally given to Boaz. They prophesied these prophecies over this gentile woman, “We are witnesses. May ADONAI make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Le’ah, who between them built up the house of Isra’el. Do worthy deeds in Efrat; become renowned in Beit-Lechem.” (Ruth 4:11) They were actually prophesying about the Messiah and the location of His birth as confirmed by the prophet Micah, who said:

Micah 5:2. But you, Beit-Lechem near Efrat, so small among the clans of Y’hudah, out of you will come forth to me the future ruler of Isra’el, whose origins are far in the past, back in ancient times.

How profound, when they said,become like the house of Peretz, whom Tamar bore to Y’hudah,” they were again prophesying a large, vast Jewish family line that has a prophetic promise connected with it! They unwittingly were prophesying about the entire Body of Messiah that would come forth through the Tribe of Judah.

Genesis 49:10. The scepter will not pass from Y’hudah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his legs, until he (Shiloh in Hebrew: epitaph of the Messiah, a Messianic Title) comes to whom [obedience] belongs; and it is he whom the peoples will obey.

The very embodiment and fulfillment of God’s covenant promise, of His redemption and salvation of both Jew and Gentile through the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Judah became his own kinsman redeemer through his daughter in law Tamar after both his sons died. The same Judah stood in the gap to prevent his brothers from murdering Yosef, it was Judah’s idea to sell him to the Ishmaelites as a slave. Profoundly it was also Judah who offered himself in the place of his brother Benjamin before Yosef in Egypt!

How detailed is Adonai? The saying “God is in the details” is used to emphasize the importance of paying careful attention to the tiniest things. That principle holds, but there is a deeper understanding that we see in these passages alone, our Creator reigns fully over every minute detail. Nothing ever occurs outside of Adonai’s decree and providential rule. This reveals to us a significance in all that we do, even the most minor, small thing! Let’s continue to read of Yeshua’s birth:

Luke 2:22-32. When the time came for their purification according to the Torah of Moshe, they took him up to Yerushalayim to present him to ADONAI 23 (as it is written in the Torah of ADONAI, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to ADONAI”) 24 and also to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the Torah of ADONAI. 25 There was in Yerushalayim a man named Shim`on. This man was a tzaddik, he was devout, he waited eagerly for God to comfort Isra’el, and the Ruach HaKodesh was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Ruach HaKodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah of ADONAI. 27 Prompted by the Spirit, he went into the Temple courts; and when the parents brought in the child Yeshua to do for him what the Torah required, 28 Shim`on took him in his arms, made a b’rakhah to God, and said, 29 “Now, ADONAI, according to your word, your servant is at peace as you let him go; 30 for I have seen with my own eyes your yeshu`ah, 31 which you prepared in the presence of all peoples — 32 a light (apokalupsis {ap-ok-al’-oop-sis}: light, disclosure of truth, a revelation, manifestation) that will bring revelation to the Goyim and glory to your people Isra’el.”

Simeon was devout, he waited eagerly for God to comfort Isra’el, He had attentive expectancy! The Ruach HaKodesh was upon Simeon, and he was righteous and devout. The two facts are directly connected. Simeon wasn’t perfect, but he was someone who walked in God’s ways with great intentionality! Simeon was serious about it. He knew what he was looking for, and was in tune with God Same with Anna. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)

A word for us today, we must worship and listen, carefully, and attentively while waiting! Simeon and Anna were paying attention. They were listening, and they were expectant. Like our day today, we all know something is happening! We must listen, be attentive, with expectancy! Simeon and Anna were attentive and All the People, the Goyim, the nations, and Israel will see, witness, and experience salvation, redemption, this light, this revelation of truth!

Messiah has come bringing revelation of to the Gentiles and glory to His people Israel! The nations shall see the light! God’s plan all along was for Israel to be the light bearer of all of humanity! The standard of truth and revelation regarding Adonai! We are not to be exclusive, selfishly keeping God to ourselves, rather, we are to bring the God of Israel to the world, proclaiming His Glory! Our lifestyle is to be an example to those who do not know God. We are to be the light to a darkened world!

Isaiah 49:6. he has said, “It is not enough that you are merely my servant to raise up the tribes of Ya’akov and restore the offspring of Isra’el. I will also make you a light (‘owr {ore}: light, light of life, light of instruction, Adonai as Israel’s light, enlightenment) to the nations, so my salvation can spread to the ends of the earth.”

This light goes all the way back to creation itself! It was the light, the “ore” of Adonai, the revelation of the “Great I Am” that divided, separated the light from the darkness…all before He created the sun, the moon, and stars!

Genesis 1:3-5. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness (Choshech: darkness; misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness). 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, one day.

Choshech’s root word Chosh: lacking, missing, unenergetic, lacking energy, powerless, beyond repair, aimless, chaotic, hopeless, feared, suspected, worthless, meaningless. Darkness or Choshech are all of these attributes! The enemy, HaSatan, the Devil, the Prince of Darkness is chosech or darkness. The light here is the same as Isaiah 49:6 “Or” illumination, revelation, joy, happiness, instruction, teaching, directive, order, puts in order, woke up, and roused. Light is all of these terms! Yeshua is our “Or”, our light of the world as we read in Luke 2! Yeshua is the physical manifestation of Adonai’s revelation on earth, as Sha’ul so eloquently shared the impact Yeshua had in:

Colossians 1:13-15. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son. 14 It is through his Son that we have redemption – that is, our sins have been forgiven. 15 He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is supreme over all creation, 16 because in connection with him were created all things – in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, lordships, rulers or authorities – they have all been created through him and for him.

In connection with Him, with Yeshua were created all things; through Him and for Him! The light reveals the knowledge and order of Adonai! Each and every day begins at sunset and is a recreation, a reminder of God’s creation of the universe. Each day begins just as the universes began, in darkness; powerless, aimless, hopeless, feared, suspected, worthless, meaningless and streams towards the light, the knowledge, the illumination, the revelations of God Himself who separated this hopelessness with His very being which is joy, happiness, instruction, teaching, directives, power, order, perfection, holiness, righteousness, purity, and love. Yeshua Himself is the ULTIMATE manifestation of this light!

John 8:12. Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.”

His unique divine identity and purpose. In declaring Himself to be the “Light of the world, Yeshua reveals that He is the exclusive source of spiritual light. No other source of spiritual truth is available to mankind. He is His Fathers Son, whose very light formed creation, dividing the powerless, aimless, chaotic, hopeless, darkness from the light!! The light was manifest in the flesh and born into this world through a virgin birth by a young Jewish girl…. Yeshua is confirming to those who already know, while at the same time revealing to those who do not yet know, that He is the Light of the world. He is the Hope, He is the Way. He is our Light, our everlasting Light. It is Yeshua whom each of us must look to and receive, Jew and Gentile alike, in order to overcome the darkness that is in this world.

John 1:4-5. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not suppressed it.

God’s or, His light is Life itself and darkness cannot overcome it!

I John 1:5. And this is the message which we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him – none!

That means His Glory is absolute. Adonai is pure bright Light that shines like the sun on all sides of the world… there is no darkness in Him, He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent! He is the source of all prophecy, all revelation, and the author of life! This is so important that Adonai sent His only Son, Yeshua to both declare and impart this light to us, to all mankind, Jew and Gentile, Male and female, so that those who perceive and receive the “true Light” will never walk in spiritual darkness! Darkness can only exist where light is not present. Once light appears, regardless of how small, it causes the darkness to flee. It cannot stay. This is how Christmas should be celebrated, arise and shine, the light has come, nations will stream toward Your light, kings towards your shinning splendor (Isaiah 60)! This is what should be shared and celebrated on this day by those who don’t know the actual day. This is the real Story Charlie Brown!

Out of 196 countries worldwide, 160 celebrate Christmas in some form. That calculates to 81% of the world’s population. Since only 32% are Christian, what is the other 49% celebrating? Some sort of a birthday party, even though 49% don’t know whose birthday they’re celebrating. There are two motivations at the core of their celebration, altruism or capital gain. On the surface, altruism seems a noble attitude but is severely hampered by our corrupt nature. A flawed effort to duplicate the light of God without possessing the light. Capital Gain is the other major motivator with over a trillion dollars spent on Christmas in America alone! Many retailers share that over 70% of their annual revenue is from Christmas shopping alone. The monetary and cultural impact of this is huge. Because of the money involved we are bombarded by all media sources to get out and shop and celebrate and it starts earlier and earlier every year!

Let’s not antagonize and demand an end to Christmas, rather let us be an example, a loving correction, a confirming voice that the story is true even though December 25th isn’t the day. Let us be influential vice antagonistic. Almost the entire world pauses to celebrate the birth of Israel’s most famous Jewish Son. As we acknowledge and recognize that the entire world is pausing to celebrate the birth of our Messiah let it not get muddled in the traditions and paraphernalia of the season, rather let us focus upon the light that came into this world 2,000 years ago to set us free!!! Let’s celebrate Yeshua!

In His Love,
Rabbi Eric S Carlson