DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR
There is a Yiddish aphorism that teaches us that what takes place in Christianity will soon affect Judaism as well. With Christmas in the air, I should like to flip that aphorism in the hope of offering solace to my fellow Christians in our society. As a spokesman for a religion and belief system from which Christianity emanated, it is my hope and prayer that those celebrating the birth of their savior will find solace from a Jew, an “older brother” of theirs.
Christians of America! Do you see what I see? I see that the sociological studies have infested your religion as well. Not content with the good tidings and cheer that they brought Judaism (I’m being totally facetious), the Pew Report – all in good faith of course – feels compelled to share similar doom and gloom with the Christians of this country. My response to the Pew Report that only 40% of Christian millennials view Christmas as a religious holiday is “so what”? If history has taught my people anything, it’s that if Judaism has withstood any number of trials and tribulations, calamities and persecutions, it will survive millennials as well. So too will Christianity. Judaism and Christianity are not “straight line” religions, showing constant undisturbed growth over the years. Each has weathered its share of peaks and valleys. Each will continue to do so.
Christians of America! Do you hear what I hear? I hear that there is a whole onslaught of new Christmas songs. That’s perfectly normal, in that music is an expression of our culture. When all is said and done however, it will be the tried and true “golden oldies” that will bring smiles to your faces and tears to your hearts. Even though those tried and true all-time favorites are often less than a century old, they will bring you back to simpler times. They will serve as the link in the chain binding one generation with another. Let the millennials tune into the latest and greatest holiday cheer – if they tune in at all; by all means don’t let them drum out Drummer Boy; don’t let them silence “Silent Night”. As one who is barraged by any number of latest Chanukah songs (some of them quite good) each year, my heart skipped a beat when an elementary school student sang a Chanukah song for me in Yiddish the other week. It is that Yiddish song, not any millennial melody that creates a sense of history.
Christians of America! Do you know what I know? I know that when it comes to religion, worry about those “who are in the same pew” as you. Make sure that they have a ride to Church; make sure that they aren’t alone for Christmas. You owe it to them, not to someone who you don’t see at worship services nor are likely to see at worship services. Neither the tastiest turkey nor the most palatable pudding in the world is going to convert a millennial. Filling one’s stomach is not, nor has it ever been the same as enriching one’s soul. Take it from someone who (ashamedly) comes from a people where Kosher Hotels advertise “groaning” Kiddush tables. Spirit and stomach may rest in the same person, but are still light years away. If your Christian love is such that you simply refuse to write millennials off, then pray for their souls. I truly believe that your heartfelt prayers will be more efficacious than any other effort you undertake through invitations, programs, and events.
Christians of America! As a spokesman from a 4,000 year old religion, I ask that you see what I see, hear what I hear, and know what I know. Be the best Christians you can be and celebrate Christmas in a most meaningful way. After all, what has taken place in Judaism will soon affect Christianity a well.