Is it a Christmas Tree or a Menorah?
Holiday Tree of Light is scripture art that fits either, as it features a Bible quote: Samuel 22:29.
“For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness.” — 2 Samuel 22:29
Maybe it’s a coincidence that the Festival of Light, falls closely with and in some years, falls on the winter solstice. This eight day celebration often coincides with Christmas. Maybe a coincidence, but in the Hebrew Testament there is no word for “coincidence”.
In the USA during the winter holiday season, most suburban neighborhoods, and most shopping areas and villages are filled with lights that appear after Thanksgiving. Our cultures tell us the lights are for (in usual order of calendar celebration) Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanza. However, lights are lights, and our eyes send our brains images of many glowing lights. We see a festive season of lights.
What’s the Biblical Theology of the Winter Holidays?
Christian scholars assure us that Jesus (in Hebrew, Yeshua) was definitely not born near the time of the winter solstice. The Greek Testament tells us that Joseph and Mary were on their way to Jerusalem, a pilgrimage to the Temple that Jews took at Passover and for the Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. The Early Church, and especially the Holy Roman Church of the early middle ages, created a holiday called “Christmas” to coincide with and compete for audience share with pagan celebrations of the solstice.
Hanukkah, the Festival of Light, is not found in the Hebrew Testament, also called the Tanakh. The story of Hanukah is found in the Apocrypha, which is a non-canonical collection of writings. The true story of the Maccabees and the miracle of eight days of light occurred during the time between the two testaments.
Hanukkah is what is called a “rabbinic” holiday. This means it is not a holiday that must be observed according to Mosaic Law from the Bible. Passover, which becomes Easter in Christianity and Shavuot, which becomes Pentecost are examples of biblically commanded holidays. The early Christians celebrated Hanukah, especially the Jewish followers of Jesus celebrated Hanukah, known also as the Feast of Dedication, in John 10:22.
Basic theology from both testaments confirms and encourages our bringing light into the world, especially during dark times. Stemming from Genesis 1, when the LORD G-D first created light (and by that light saw that it was good/tov). We give thanks for the miracle of Light that came and is in our world and lives and the miracle of the light that miraculously sustains us in our times of darkness.
Plus, we, as the observant children of the Creator, are encouraged to follow His example (as best we can). We light lights, we give gifts of charity and kindness.
A Seasonal of Tree
In Western Jewish and Christian cultures, this holiday time is a season of light – but it is also a season of trees.
As described in the Bible, a menorah is a kind of image of a tree, often ornamented, that holds individual burning lamps, or candles, and more recently even electric lights. A Christmas tree is a real tree or some version of a tree (realistic or abstract) that is decorated with ornaments and in the past candles, but now usually electric lights.
Hanukkah is very popular joyous holiday of gift giving, singing special songs, and enjoying special rich foods, and candy. Christians, followers of Jesus, are following His (and His early disciples’ example) by lighting when they Christmas trees, giving gifts, singing carols, and dining on special rich foods, and candy on Christmas.
Version 2 of the Holiday Tree of Light is featured below. In this colored version the you can see both the blue and white colors symbolizing Hanukkah, along with the greens and reds of Christmas. Interestingly these colors also represent places. The blue and white of Israel and Jerusalem, plus the green and red of Italy and The Vatican.
The artwork below, Holiday Tree of Light, is a colored in adult coloring page, by me, Judy Rey Wasserman. Is it a Hanukkah menorah – or a Christmas tree? We celebrate together!
The words on the tree are KJV translation of 2 Samuel 22:29. You can see that text cited on the base of the tree.
Holiday Gift for You
The black and white version of Holiday Tree of Light artwork is below. It is a special holiday gift from me to you for joining the Art & Inspiration newsletter – but only from Hanukkah eve through December 31, 2021. After that the special page with the link to the printable PDF will be removed. This downloadable PDF is for a 8.5 x 11 inch printout. [Note; If you joined the new newsletter in 2021, you don’t need to rejoin to obtain the PDF. Newsletter members always receive a newsletter with a link to the newest gift downloads. If you are not yet a member of our Art & Inspiration newsletter, you can easily join it from the sidebar on all blog pages, and the footer pages at Art of Seeing The Divine –the shop, or UnGraven Image. or the small sign-up st the end of this article.]
Is it a Menorah or a Christmas Tree?
Is it a menorah or a Christmas tree , or both? You decide by the colors you use. Or, don’t color it and decorate your place with the black and white version.
Whoever you are, however you celebrate the festivals of the miracle of Light brought into and overcoming darkness, enduring blessings, and renewed Dedication, I pray you are blessed with light, love and peace.
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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art.
Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.
Check out the Fine Art Limited Edition prints, decorative prints, books, and printables that are currently available to you through Judy Rey’s Art of Seeing The Divine Shop. You don’t have to buy to avail yourself of the art and inspiration available there. However if you select to collect investment quality archival art, or decorate your home with images created with strokes that are original letters from Bible texts, or buy a gift for someone special, there is a secure shopping cart that accepts most credit cards so your purchase is easy to accomplish. https://artofseeingthedivine.com