Opinion | Discipleship

The Blessing of Missing Christmas

In my Jewish home, my lonely celebrations as a teen changed how I view the holiday.
The Blessing of Missing Christmas
Image: Jessy Rone / Flickr

When I was a kid, I knew Christmas as the other December celebration.

I spent most of my secular Jewish childhood in a heavily Jewish Chicago suburb. Of course, there were still the Christmas commercials, Christmas specials, and Christmas songs at school, but our family celebrated Hanukkah. Our eight-night “Jewish Christmas” had its own miraculous backstory. My Gentile classmates had only one day of presents to anticipate during December. I felt pretty lucky to have eight nights of gifts (even if, by the end of the celebration, I was opening gifts like pajamas and underwear).

After I came to faith in Jesus in my mid-teens, my parents forbade me from attending church as long as I was living under their roof. I felt the ban most acutely during December. It seemed that just about everyone else was having a holly jolly Christmas. Even the Grinch got to make his way down to Whoville to crash the party, while I had to spend my first few Christmases as a follower of the Bethlehem-born ...

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