It’s not too late to re-dedicate your hearts to do what Jesus did (John 10:22-23)!!! In 1998, my family started celebrating Hanukkah on the official last day of Hanukkah; and then, we continued our new beginning for eight days straight.
The following is an excerpt from the “Word Up” Section of Chapter 1 from my SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up book, pages 13-17 (https://www.amazon.com/SANTA-TIZING-Whats-wrong-Christmas-clean/dp/1607911159):
Now to how I came to write this book on this highly controversial subject: As sure as I know that my daddy loves me, I know that the Word of the Lord came to me twice on two separate occasions. While I do not put these revelatory words of the Lord (i.e., rhema) on par with Scripture, I greatly value anything God would like to share with me, especially anything close to His heart. I also check any rhema word against Scripture, for I believe that God does not contradict His written Word.
The first Word of the Lord, which is important for the context of this book, happened in the month of December. The year was 1998. Jesus came to me in an apparition. He had tears in His eyes when He told me: “The mixture of Christmas grieves my heart.” He paused momentary to let this bombshell sink in; then added: “Come out of Babylon and lay down Christmas, for I will have a pure and spotless Bride.” As all things truly of God are, these words were utterly life changing.
As a side, please allow me to explain that I am not trying to appear to be more spiritual than others by sharing the words, experiences, or visions I have received from the Lord. The Lord has created me to be a seer, and visions are a regular way the Lord communicates with me. Other believers have different, and just as important, gifts given by the grace of God as articulated in the Bible. My husband is an excellent example of this. John has the gifts of practical knowledge, profound discernment, and sound wisdom, which encourage, ground, and balance everyone around him. John tells me that he has never directly communicated with the Lord. When, in reality, he issues forth a steady stream of God’s living water, due to his efforts to live a right life before his Creator. Although some individuals may have a hard time accepting any spiritual (i.e., supernatural) experience, it is important to note that they are biblical and that our God is a supernatural God.
To help you understand what an unlikely candidate I was, know that in 1998 I loved the beauty of the Christmas season. I liked Christmas songs, Christmas teas, and Christmas cheer. Quite frankly, I’d be one of the last persons to be sour or dour toward any celebration. Growing up in northwestern Montana in the 1960s and ’70s, my family annually would go Christmas tree hunting. All five of us would pile into Dad’s big, green Ford pick-up and head out to the abundant supply of evergreens on national forest land west of Kalispell. It was a wonderful all-day event. We’d bring an axe, our sleds, and a thermos full of hot cocoa. My dad would dangerously drag our sleds behind his truck. I shouldn’t tell you that it was tons of fun! We sang, and sometimes yelled, carols via the PA system of my dad’s CB radio to any deer, bear, or squirrel that would listen. I’d have to say that Christmas tree hunting is still one of my favorite memories.
Extravagant parties are my forte too. Just ask any friend who has been to one of my tea parties. Additionally, when I got my first job out of college in southern California, I was a computer programmer/analyst by day and a sole proprietor of a handmade greeting card company by night. Let’s just say that I thoroughly took pleasure in putting a personal and affectionate touch to my annual Christmas cards. I also had a reputation for getting just the right gift. Even today, gift-giving and being involved in philanthropic efforts are two of my favorite things to do.
In 1998, I enjoyed the sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes related to Christmas. It’s safe to say I liked, even loved, it all. Yet way back, even when I was a child, somewhere deep inside of me, I sensed that something was amiss. And like Halloween, I shelved the “feeling,” remembering it only when the Lord chose to unveil the reason for my uneasiness.
I was totally cognizant that when the Lord said: “Come out of Babylon and lay down Christmas,” I would either choose to not obey; and thus, not believe and move toward an ever increasing compromised and useless Christian life—or—I would chose to hear God and seek understanding, so I could obey the dictates of the Lord’s heart; and thus, ever increase in knowing Him and His ways. The only option for my sold-out heart was to respond with a feeble, but genuine heart cry: “Lord, I want to. Help me. Show me the way. My husband’s not ready for this. Give me, give us a way out.”
Little did I expect the response to my prayer to be so dramatic and so soon. Within a few hours our beautiful Christmas tree, decorated to the hilt with so many sweet memories, was infested with hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny spiders. I didn’t take the time to count! As you probably could have guessed, I could have been diagnosed with arachnophobia at the time. I recount this story in chapter 7, but for now the shortened version of my story goes something like: It was the day of the winter solstice December 21, 1998. My husband was in an important all-day meeting, so a good friend and I dismantled my family’s Christmas tree without his knowledge. I thought something to the effect: Those spiders with “their” tree are outta here! As soon as the tree was out of our home, miraculously and instantaneously, all the spiders were gone. When my family room was cleared of its infestation, I placed all our beautifully wrapped gifts in the bare corner of the room where the tree used to reside. When I told my husband what happened, I was amazed at how fast he agreed that the entire situation was of God. I should let you know that my husband is extremely analytical and rarely agrees quickly to anything. He’s quite pensive and our family is better off for it.
Prior to our spousal heart-to-heart, I had been staring at our presents; and even though I felt an incredible spirit of joy and peace, I still felt a void. It was like having a rug being pulled out from beneath you. I had lost my footing, so I sought the Lord. I said something similar to: “There’s a big hole in our life now. What are we to do?” I distinctly heard Jesus say: “Do what I did. If Chanukah was good enough for Me, it’s good enough for you.” My first response was: “What?” At that time, I honestly never even had thought of that possibility. I went to my Strong’s Concordance and found the scriptural reference I needed under the word winter. But of course, Jesus grew up and lived as a Jew while He was here on earth: “Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade” (John 10:22-23). Chanukah also can be spelled “Hanukkah.” It has several additional names, including the Feast of Dedication, the Feast of Miracles, and the Feast of Lights.
So, in 1998, our family set out to celebrate Chanukah. We were just like little children trying to please our parent with a clumsy, yet sincere, stab at doing what Jesus did. That year, December 21st was the last day of Chanukah; therefore, the last day of the official eight-day Chanukah season was the first day we actually celebrated as Jesus did. I thought it interesting that the Lord would reveal his heart about Christmas and Chanukah on the final and eighth day of Chanukah, because the number eight in Scripture speaks of new beginnings. For eight consecutive days, our cozy, little family lit a nine-branch lampstand at sunset, and read devotions from Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Bible furnished by Robin Scarlata and Linda Pierce’s book: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays.
As I stated before, December 21, 1998, was also the day of the winter solstice, which was the actual day pagans originally celebrated Christmas under various other names. So . . . on the eighth day of Chanukah according to the biblical calendar and on the day of the winter solstice according to man’s marks of time, my family and I began a new and joyous journey. For us, God ordained this crossover date to switch our family from celebrating Christmas to His biblical celebration of Chanukah.
Give em heaven!!!
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• SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up book => https://www.amazon.com/SANTA-TIZING-Whats-wrong-Christmas-clean/dp/1607911159/
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PHOTO: Artist Unknown