In my book about The Real Story of Chanukah, I included a lengthy endnote about Christmas. For those interested in one Messianic Jew’s opinion, here it is in its entirety.
Since this is a significant issue among Messianics and Christians in pursuit of the “Jewish roots” of the faith, I feel that it is worthwhile to offer my perspective on Christmas. Personally, I have no problem with Christians celebrating Christmas. For sure, there are seriously pagan issues with the holiday and its accompanying icons (these facts are widely documented, and, since this is a book about Chanukah and not Christmas, I do not feel compelled to elaborate here), but as far as the Luke 2 tradition is concerned—where the sole and central purpose of celebrating Christmas is the recognition of Yeshua’s birth—I have no problem with it whatsoever.
Where I caution Christians in their observance, however, is where the line of paganism becomes encroached upon. Though “Christ”—Messiah—may be an inspirational portion of Christmas, this theme is often shrouded or lost among the manner in which it is celebrated in our society today. It’s also fair to point out that the holiday itself is pagan in origin, not at all inspired by the Scriptures. Though as believers, some have tried to put “Christ” back into Christmas, this is essentially the same thing as trying to impose Yeshua onto the chanukiyyah [the so-called Chanukah “menorah”] (which has its own set of issues as well—see the Appendix for a more substantial discussion on this topic). Forcing Messianic (or Christian) ideals and ideas onto traditional rituals and elements (especially those of dubious origin), can be fraught with difficulties. Of course, with regard to Christmas, we cannot ignore the underlying question of why believers desire to celebrate the Messiah’s birthday in the first place. Celebrating birthdays is simply not a practice found in Scripture.
With regard to my own relationship to Christmas, as a Jew, Christian rites and holidays in general have no place in my life or the life of my family. Celebrating Christian holidays is simply not where I find common ground with my Gentile brothers and sisters. There are many, far more substantial areas in which I as a Messianic Jew can walk in agreement with all believers in Yeshua—Christmas is just not one of them. Nevertheless, I do not begrudge Christians their observance.
What do you think about this perspective? Sound off below (don’t be naughty—be nice!).