Yesterday as my wife and I walked through Target we marveled as some of the menorahs for sale. I told her that I would like the celebrate Hanukkah, but I feel a bit odd about it since it is a celebration for Jews. I’m not sure how Jews would feel about a Gentile like myself celebrating a holiday that remembers when they regained and rededicated their temple after the Gentiles polluted it. My motivation is that it is a reminder of the preservation of the people who would give the Messiah to the world (even if many don’t acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah). As the Apostle Paul argued in his Letter to the Romans, the Jews are the primary part of the great tree of Abraham. We non-Jews are grafted into the family. As a Gentile I am grateful to the Jews who have shared their story with us who had no story.
I don’t know how many readers of this blog are Jewish, but if you are Jewish how do you feel about non-Jews celebrating holidays like Hanukkah?
While I am discussing Jewish-Christian relations I should mention that my review copy of The Jewish Annotated New Testament edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler courtesy Oxford University Press (thank you!) arrived yesterday. I will be reviewing it on this blog soon, but I think I will mention some thing now. First, it is a NRSV New Testament with annotations, essays, and charts created by Jewish scholars. In other words, it is a Jewish presentation and interpretation of the New Testament. Inside I have found great annotations covering the whole of the New Testament, introductions to each book, essays on a wide-array of subjects covering everything from messianic movements to Philo, maps, and more. It seems like a really, really great volume to have on your bookshelf and unlike many themed New Testaments this one is of value!