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How I celebrate Christmas

December 17, 2019
by Kimberly Troup

Christmas is a time that brings mixed emotions for me.  I grew up in a Christian home that did not celebrate Christmas.  I was taught as a child that Christmas is a completely pagan holiday and shouldn’t be celebrated in any way, so I grew up without a Christmas tree, festive lights or presents.  We were definitely the odd family who no one quite understood.  Given my background, I do have an understanding of the many people I meet today who also don’t celebrate Christmas.

As an adult, I do celebrate Christmas, even though I know that the holiday is not a Biblical one.  In our home, the focus of Christmas is on Jesus.  But we do have a (gasp) pagan Christmas tree in our living room, pretty lights and, of course, presents.  As an adult I looked at what Christmas meant to me and decided that I wanted to incorporate the love, joy, and excitement of the season that has become part of the Christian culture into our family.  To instill these values into our children while obliterating the pagan elements that may once have been associated with the early foundation of Christmas.

The main Christmas display that we put up every year is our collection of nativity sets.  Our collection includes some unique sets hand-crafted from olive wood that I bought in Israel, as well as items from Congo, Mexico, Kenya, a woodland creature design, and a traditional store-bought one.   For me it shows that our hearts are focused on the reason for the season.  For if Jesus had not been born, I would still be worshiping a tree in a forest somewhere. Without my faith in Jesus I would not have a relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I know for many who love Israel and follow the Hebraic roots of our faith, whether or not to celebrate Christmas can be a real struggle.  And I usually get some chastising notes and emails from well-meaning folks who are aghast that I allow a pagan Christmas tree in my home, when I should know better!  So I will apologize in advance if talking about Christmas or saying “Merry Christmas” is offensive to you.  I believe that God has called us to be salt and light wherever we go in this world.  To give flavor and clarity of vision to all we come in contact with.  And Christmas is a great time to do that, to be living examples of God’s love everywhere we go.

Today is my mother’s 70th birthday, so I’m sensitive to the challenges faced by Senior Citizens.  As 2019 comes to a close I want to invite you to join me in bringing love and compassion to the people in Israel who need it most right now.  Through CFOIC Heartland, you have an opportunity to sow into the lives of senior citizens as they struggle with the challenges that face so many in their twilight years.   You have a chance to bless them, encourage them, and show them unconditional love during this holiday season.  I am asking you to give a special gift this Christmas season to help Senior Citizens in the Biblical Heartland of Israel.  Your donation will provide them with subsidies for their heating bills, dental treatments, exercise classes, enrichment programs and care for those suffering from dementia and physical impairment.  They invested their lives in building the communities of Judea and Samaria.  This is your chance to give back to them.

I pray your holidays are filled with warmth and wonder, and that you will be salt and light to all you meet.  Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Kimberly Troup
Director, US Office
Christian Friends of Israeli Communities

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12 thoughts on “How I celebrate Christmas”

  1. Dear Kimberly,
    I too am a senior citizen 77 years. And I have had many beautiful memories of Christmasses as a youth. However, when I entered a church for a Christmas service as a young adult, I noticed that there were 2 displays of what was the center of worship. One a crucifix (not a cross) and the other a baby in a grip. What was startling for me is it showed Jesus in a helpless state both times. I just had read the description in the first 2 chapters of Revelation of how Jesus was actually in His Glory state, and it was in stark contrast with what I saw there at the church.
    This cause me to investigate my beliefs and to my surprise I found out how pagan many of the traditions of Christianity really is. Our Father in heaven told us to come out of that, not go into those traditions, however sweet and lovely they are. I am from Germany and I know from my school years that the lighting of a fir tree superseded Christianity by many years, and by making it a Christian symbol did not make it holy. We are to become holy and undefiled, and therefor I have taken the Christmas traditions out of my life. As well as other traditions! Soon the Messiah of Israel will return, and then we will all follow His direction.
    May His peace be upon you,

  2. Hi Kim. Just one thing: I usually don’t have any “friends” or family, but if I were in your position and had a lot of Jewish friends, I would mention to him or her that it’s okay to REVERE Yeshua.
    Plus I suspect there are a lot of smart Jewish people who already know there are two types of “Hannukah bushes”; the religious ones and the secular ones. Most of them have the latter.
    PS: I didn’t know about your upbringing. I am glad you seem to have straightened that part out.

  3. I was raised a Christian and we celebrated Xmas.We were in our 60’s when we realized through much study that yes xmas is pagan to say the least.I do hope my ‘salt’ is truth for what use is it watered down with false beliefs.I am sorry you feel this way for having walked in truth it is dangerous to swim upstream with the masses.

  4. We love Christmas too. Our celebration is bittersweet..the last one we had with son, dil and grandkids was 2012. We’ve been shunned, except for oldest grandson who lives nearby, visits and takes meals often, while working and finishing higher education. Bless you. Merry Christmas to you and Yours. We look forward to the day when Jerusalem is made a praise in the earth by King Jesus, Himself. Love from Jerry and Kathy Sanford

  5. Thanks for you email. we all that christmas is pagan, the first commandment say’s thou shalt not have any idel or image before me, that is in the haven’s or the earth below. the tree that is decorated is a
    bomanation befor Him. I decided this year not to celabrate any feast as far as I see it as working days.

    I have a big problem with christanity it is all pagan, to witch I have to sort out. enjoy our fest. Murice Bacon. Love you all.

  6. Very much in sympathy with what you state here re celebrating Christmas. I too have a Christmas tree! However, it is a pagan festival. I believe that the real time line of the birth of the Messiah was during the feast of Tabernacles, although I an uncertain of this. Unfortunately on this one I celebrate Christmas in true lemming style(!) simply because everyone else does! I am not overly proud of that!

  7. Shalom Kim. As always I enjoy your letter around Christmas time. My children can relate to you somewhat. We stop celebrating with a tree until we did a little investigation into the tree, santa, etc. The worshipping of a wooden object made from a tree, had nothing to do with a tree to adorn in recognition of the birth of Yeshua. Santa does have some negative history in some countries, almost demonic. Plus it takes away from the celebration of the birth of Yeshua like the abgels rejoiced, the sheppards in the fields were exceedingly filled with awe and the wise men traveled from long distanc to worship!

    Hallelujah, as we remember that HaMasiach is born! I may put up a tree abd adorn it with lughts and stars. Will be nice to build a grotto (a manager) that is a cave helmed into a stone hill or mountain.

    A blessed time to you as many commemorate the birth of Yeshua.

    Patricia praising Adonai for you!

  8. Dear all,

    So sad to hear that Christmas is celebrated in houses of believers. I think you all know Jeremiah 10:1 – 16 about the One and Only God and all other peagan-gods. Christmas is not a “Moadim”, a feast for our God, so it is a feast for peagan gods….
    Sorry to be so direct, but that’s my clear statement.
    Shalom to all of you.

  9. I am a believer who observes the Jewish festivals and the Christian ones too. I love Christmas and celebrate the birth of Yeshua through it. Even though I know it was not the time of year when Jesus was born, because I am a Christian and that is when we celebrate His birth,

  10. Thank you, Kim for your personalized Hanukkah /Christmas greetings. Coming from non-Jewish backgrounds and adopted into
    “haBeit Emuna” – “the household of faith” and “the Israel of God”, we have much in common with each other.

    In a further response to your e-mail I will send some info which will strenghthen our shared identity in serving Kingdom priorities such as favoring Zion “for the time to favor her has come.”

    “When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory.”

    “What shall one answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord has founded Zion and the poor of His people shall put their trust in Him.”. .

    “…for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” Barbara

    Shalom, l’hitkasher, Kimberly.

  11. Surely the birth of Christ, and His death and resurrection are both worth celebrating and pondering over? In the UK, when I was a child in the 1960s, things were simple and less secular – far less materialistic. However, even now at school the little boys did a beautiful Nativity play, with songs and a surprisingly strong message. The older boys watched it, then had their own Carol service/concert a few days later. It is an opportunity to reach out, so embrace it! Enjoy the lights in the dark season, the generosity and love around, and ponder the giving of God’s Son with joy.

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