As I grew up in a home that was both Jewish and Christian, observance of the winter holidays proved interesting to say the least. It wasn’t unusual in our house to have a Christmas tree with a Star of David at the top, or a Chanukah menorah alongside a manger scene. We made Chai cookies (that’s Chai, the Hebrew word-symbol meaning life pronounced like “Hi” – not the spiced tea) alongside gingerbread men. I cherish that world, my world, the one I grew up in, because of the beautiful memories, symbolism, and great offbeat humor shared among family.
Today, I still put up a tree and a Magen David; yard lights, although they are Biblical Blue (techelet) and white. We light the menorah. I sing my favorite carol, Little Drummer Boy, while playing a game or two of Dreidel because it teaches my kid about giving charitably – and hey, I also like eating chocolate gelt, just like I like eating candy canes.
I’ve always valued the expression “Happy Holidays” because with my background it’s inclusive of both Christmas and Chanukah. It strikes me as a very sensitive way to wish someone well during the winter. “Merry Christmas” is warm and meaningful, too. Yet when it comes to the once-a-year hyperdrive cavalry expression, “Jesus is the reason for the season. Take Christ out of Christmas and you don’t have a holiday!” I’d say every day; every breath we take is reason to esteem faith in the Son of God. Each day we live is cause to celebrate in whom and what we believe, but hopefully with increasing gentleness, humility, and grace.
As you do what you do this season, I simply and joyfully wish you, with warmth and respect, a Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas – or as we say in my crazy household, “Happy Christma-kah.”
Love in Yeshua (the Jewish way to say Jesus),
Want to let you all know that my contemporary romance set in Africa, Warm My Heart, is now also available on Kobo. Kobo primarily serves the Canadian and French markets, as well as its partnering countries. I’m excited to expand and offer my books, one at a time, into other venues (more to come, soon). Therefore, if you don’t utilize Amazon Worldwide for your book purchases, Kobo is another worthy option.
Here is a recap of this missionary romance, Warm My Heart (Hearts in Africa series #1):
SARAH finds herself heading into the bush of East Africa as a short-term missionary to the Maasai, a trip she initially took in an attempt to get over a broken engagement. Her trust in men forever marred, she is challenged when she serves under her team’s magnetic leader, Mitch.
MITCH finds a home in Africa, but is driven to serve God out of a guilt-ridden past. Hiding from wasted years spent carousing and chasing women, running from his weaknesses, he is stopped in his tracks when he meets the beautiful “Miss Sarah.”
Forced to serve together, they struggle through their crippling issues of trust and guilt. In the process, their faith is challenged. Together, in a harsh and often dangerous environment—including tribal skirmishes—they examine themselves, and learn that it takes more to survive than just a profession of faith. It takes the abandoned day-by-day trust in a living God. Sarah and Mitch become a sweet solace for each other and reach an understanding. They believe they belong together. But when the hindering issues of the past resurface stronger than ever, with a secret rising up to stand in their way, they find it difficult to carry on. Can they retain the power of love between them when they have so much to overcome?
*Also now on Barnes & Noble!