This is a bit late but I am finally getting around to posting. This is the first year my family has not celebrated Christmas. (Pause for sounds of groans and shock to die down). We have been doing the biblical feast days as best as we could, last year being our first year. My husband was really feeling like we need to abandon the Christmas festivities. Now for a little background, when I was 6, my mom (who came out of a very Roman Catholic culture) got saved and learned about the paganism of many holidays. That year our tree and all the trimmings got thrown out into the trash. Christmas was just like any other day to us. We did go to the service however to “celebrate” the birth of Messiah. My husband’s childhood was just the opposite. I like to say that I had all Christ and no Christmas when he had no Christ but ALLL Christmas. Christmas started creeping back into my life little by little with the birth of the grandkids. My sis In law at that time even bought me a mini tree which was very weird for me to put up. When I moved out I left all that behind again. With the start of my own family, it was requested to make the holiday feel real Christmasy- like when he was growing up. Honestly- it was a chore for me. I didn’t realize how hard it was for me to just decorate and get into this “holiday spirit”. As my desire to live for God grew and to “train up my children”, I really stressed the importance of the birth of Christ to my kids. I was on my own. I was doing the Jesse Advent Christmas (awesome book by the way for Christmasers and non alike.) I baked a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake, I would even look for scriptural or “holy” wrapping paper. When it came to Christmas morn it was all for naught however. “Hey kids, before you rip into another gift, whose birthday are we celebrating?” “Uh I don’t know…is that one mine? Do I have more?” Oh the frustration, the stress, the money spent. The meaninglessness. I would even try to bring meaning to my in-laws Christmas which was also frustrating “Oh thanks Sandra for the “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” door hanger. My mom and dad were more low key and all about the Messiah…they would give small meaningful presents to each of us. They even began decorating a bit. No tree however. Granted my children are yet small, at this time 6, 4, and 18 mos, but I felt like I was losing them to the world already. When Lee made allusions to the fact that we won’t be doing the whole Christmas thing this year I was YIPEEEING on the inside. Explaining to the fam was a different story. The only ones we really told were the parents . The biggest concern from my family was “You aren’t going to celebrate the birth of Jesus?” Well, just because we aren’t decorating, going in debt to buy gifts for everyone and their uncle, and eating a Christmas ham doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate the birth of Christ. OF course we understand the awesome significance surrounding his birth. However, we also know that (as many have heard) Jesus wasn’t born at this time. To say that we really don’t know when isn’t true either. Looking at the first chapters in Matthew and at Jewish history going back thousands of years (they are very good at keeping records by the way- not getting them destroyed is the hard part), we learn that Zechariah who we know is a priest of the temple, was up for performing a certain ceremony. They actually have a calendar of when each line of priests were performing what. So they know what month they were in when Elisabeth conceived. That also gives us a clue to when Jesus was conceived therefore pointing to a time of birth. More than likely he was born during Sukkot. There are other plausible ideas pointing to this. Most Messainics DO celebrate the birth of the Messiah during Sukkot. There are reasons why the 25th shouldn’t be coincided (however innocently) with Yeshua’s birth, but I will not go into that here. There is much debate amongst believers. SO the Houstons had nary a hint of Christmas in their home. IN FACT we chose to celebrate Chanukah at this time. It started a week before Christmas. Although it is not technically a God commanded biblical feast, we know that Yeshua himself was at the temple during Chanukah. If He celebrated it we want to also! So we got our Chanukah Menorah and candles and dreidel and yummy gelt and Chanukah books. I have to tell you, it was WONDERFUL! It became tradition here in America to give gifts on the 8 days of Chanukah because the Jewish kids were jealous of their Gentile friends that got gifts for Christmas. Traditionally, they only gave gifts to the young ones and only to their own family-and not putting emphasis on the gifts. We decided to give gifts this year only to our children. I purchased dollar store gifts and we also had few family gifts. It was so wonderful, that my children were excited to hear the miracle of the menorah every night and not asking about their gifts. Most nights, it was forgotten altogether. I would give them to them and they would be grateful but it wasn’t a big deal. The traditions we chose to include were more exciting to them .They learned about God and His wondrous works every night. We talked about Jesus being the Shamash candle- the center one that lights the rest. We said the blessings , we danced and sang the traditional songs. We ate the oily food that once again reminded us of God’s miracle! Yes we practiced tradition, but it all pointed to Messiah. No stress, disappointment, frustration. So needless to say I am happily giving away my Christmas décor.