HaY'Did (The Friend) Ministries
10837 South 250th East Avenue, Broken Arrow, OK 74014

Mission Statement: To train, educate and equip for study both the Jew and the non-Jew in the rich Biblical/Hebraic Heritage.

Hanukkah: The Light is Messiah

Stories to Share
Big Shiny Chocolate Eyes

By Grammy Holeman

Several years ago when we made the decision to give up Christmas it was culture shock all around. We always had the biggest Christmas tree that we could afford, and one year when I worked for a local plant farm, we had fifty-two poinsettias in the house! Talk about looking like the perfect Christmas around here! The house was full of Christian friends from church and we did it up right. Or did we?

One day as I was walking through the house I suddenly came upon the idea that God was going to have priests and kings in The Kingdom, and that it would be a Jewish kingdom---not a Kansas style kingdom. The real shocker was when I realized that the priests and kings probably needed to know something about the Jewish ways in order to enter His Temple. What would the non-Jew have done? What would I have done? Could I just nonchalantly walk through the gates, and cozy right up to the priests and ask, "What are you doing? Can I watch?" So, I cried out very loud that day in my living room, "God, if I'm reading this right, and I need to know something about these Jewish things, could you please send a teacher by to help me?" Within the week, I had found a teacher on television and was off and discovering the rich biblical Hebraic heritage that I had been robbed of all those years of pew sitting. ...And then, the changes started coming! "Oivey!"

So, after we "pigged out on Christmas" that one year, I went on a soul search. Over and over again I was seeing new things in the scripture. What would Jesus and his disciples have celebrated and why? Did they do Christmas? I went to the library and looked that one up, and was shocked to find out that Christmas was considered pagan! Pagan? No one had ever discussed "paganism" or "Hellenism" with me in church? So I was off and tracking down the first century pagan practices. I wanted to sit at Yeshua's Feet---not at some gnostic or saturn god's feet. Where was Yeshua in Hanukkah?

Then I started putting the pieces together, and our hearts changed towards HIM. He was Yeshua HaMashiach---or Jesus the Messiah. We wanted HIM to feel perfectly comfortable if HE should drop by our house, right? Well, I didn't think a pagan tree in the corner would cause My Savior to rejoice, do you? So, we didn't put one up. Our families felt slighted as our house was not going to have the biggest and best Christmas tree, and they sure weren't willing to listen to "Well, in John 10:22 we see Jesus in the Temple at Hanukkah" routine. So, we decided to go to our daughter's home out of state--in Texas.

The most precious thing in our lives is our grandchildren. We wanted to share our findings with them. All grandparents agree that grandchildren are much more fun than their kids ever were, right? Anyway, it's easier to be the Hanukkah authority out of state---or at least it was in our case.

My husband and I arrived with the hanukkiah and simple gifts, and a prayer that the son-in-law would go for it, too. The daughter is a real student and had been into our Jewish roots studying as long as I had, but the son-in-law was in the Navy and didn't have much of a Christian upbringing in his past. But when we arrived, he shrugged and said, "Let's give it a shot." Whew! That was a relief!

So the daughter, toddlers and Grammy all headed for the store to fill the house with blue and white decorations, buy ingredients for latkes and simple gifts. The scotch tape came out of the drawer and former Christmas lights were now hung from pegs around the walls instead of a tree. The grandson, age 4, and the granddaughter, age 3, had never seen a Christmas tree, so that simplified everything. We didn't know any of the traditional songs, so we invented them! We had found a music tape which helped, but after years of "Here Comes Santa Claus" or "Away in the Manger," it took some relearning on our part to get the toes tapping.

The first day of Hanukkah was also my granddaughter's birthday. I had brought out the perfect dress for the perfect granddaughter and whisked the grandkids off to the photo studio for the perfect picture. Daughter is game, and the men are still hanging lights as we go out the door.

When we got to the studio the photographer pulled down the typical Christmas tree background, and we were face to face with "it" once again. Daughter looked at me, and I looked at her, and said, "I will be right back." I went home, grabbed the Hanukkiah (Menorah) and nine candles and headed back to the studio where the kids had now topsy-turvied the entire studio! Toys were everywhere, and the photographer looked exasperated.

So, I triumphantly pulled out the Hanukkiah. Daughter quickly grabbed the kids and straightened the hair bows, trousers, and tie while the photographer quickly asked which background did we want? We chose just a plain blue one, and set the hanukkiah up in front of the kids. The grandchildren smiled sweetly, and finally the photographer shot the perfect Hanukkah picture.

As we were finishing the session, I looked down at my granddaughter. I thought that these eyes looked especially trusting today. Then it dawned on me that her eyes were a particular color of brown---chocolate! Lori looked at me with those big chocolate eyes and trusted me to tell her the truth about Her God and her life, and not to lie to her.Yeshua was Truth. We had made the decision to look deep into her eyes and tell her that Yeshua wasn't born on December 25, and that a man in a red suit named Santa Claus wasn't coming to her house. Her eyes would not see a Christmas tree, or the big pile of presents either. But what she would see and know, is that just as the Shammash candle shone brightly as the servant to all the other candles in the menorah, that her Savior Yeshua would shine forth each night of Hanukkah. And that He came to serve her and her brother, and that HE would always be the light in their eyes. Truth and the Torah would abound on Hanukkah from this house that year and every year since. We would struggle many times through this holiday, but somehow those chocolate eyes would know that Yeshua loved her, cared for her, and died for her from the light of each Hanukkah candle. Was it worth it? YES! As she walks into my office today singing songs from Shalom Sesame Street about the dreidel, and asks me to dance with her, I know that He will be reflected again in our home this year. The line dance forms to the right, and let's celebrate with a one, and a two, and a three....

Grammy and Poppy's Bright Shiny Chocolate Eyes!
(Hard to believe that these children are now teenagers in high school!)