What do we do with Christmas? Christmas is a traditional celebration of the birth of the Messiah. The key word is traditional. Because the tradition is not a Jewish one, Messianic Jews have a variety of opinions on its observance. In our congregation, we do not observe the holiday because we desire to provide a Jewish environment for our congregational life and to maintain our own identity as Jews. We celebrate our faith in a Jewish context because Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel. Therefore, our reason is ethnic more than spiritual. It is no secret that many people who attend messianic congregations are not Jewish or are in mixed marriages. Some celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas and others attend family Christmas celebrations. Most of the families that I know in which both partners are Jewish do not observe Christmas at all. I know that the origins of Christmas are pagan and therefore some people do not celebrate it for that reason. Our relationship to Christmas helps to understand why we do not refer to ourselves as “Christians” and why we do not display a cross or engage in other symbols, holidays and traditions are usually identified with belief in Yeshua. Many symbols, holidays and traditions were developed over a long period of time and reflect a gentile cultural expression of a theological truth. We believe in the Scriptures, both the Tanach and the New Covenant. We believe in the virgin birth of Yeshua and the triunity of God Culturally we live out our faith in a Jewish way. We find prayers in the Siddur to enhance our faith; we observe Jewish holidays and celebrations because we recognize both their theological and cultural meaning for us.
We are still evolving in our understanding of exactly how that works out. Some might ask, why bother with a Jewish way of life if we believe in Jesus – the one we refer to as Yeshua. The reason is because we believe in our calling as the remnant of Israel. We agree with the first followers of Yeshua who said, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote– Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”