So This Is Christmas

Red_Christmas Lights_2012-12-24

2012-12-24 – Every year I get tricked. Every year I try to hold the line against commercialism. Because, let’s face it, I’m cheap.

And I like the peace on earth stuff.

As a Jew, I’m not invested in the religious significance of Christmas. For me the religious significance of Christmas is going out on Christmas Day and trying to find some place that’s open. But I could go for the peace on earth stuff, when I find it. Which isn’t very often.

When I was growing up, once in a while I got a glimpse of a true Sabbath. Saturday’s at my aunt’s house were sometimes like that. Major Jewish holidays were even more so because being home from school on a Jewish holiday was out of the ordinary, if the holiday fell on a week day. We were the only ones home, so the spirit of the holiday ruled.

Christmas is like that, if you forget about the presents. A day of rest. A day out of the ordinary. A day with family without pressures of the worlds of commerce and business.

So it was something of a shock, in my project to read the New Testament, to find Jesus complaining that the Sabbath observers were hindering his healing work. Maybe I’d be irritated too, if I were a god. But as a mortal, I value a day off.

Oh, sure, I get the point that pharisaic observance of the Sabbath can become rote and that enforcement of the Sabbath can become hypocritical. This is a key difference between Christianity and Judaism. In Judaism, the belief is that observance leads to faith. In Christianity, the belief is that faith leads to . . . well, I’m not sure. I’m still reading that part.

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