This question from my 4-year-old nephew, using my family nickname, made me smile. I still warm to his childlike innocence just as I did many years ago.
I doubt he cared about the fine points of Judaism and Christianity. But, aware of various activities around the holidays, he probably wondered, would we light a Menorah or decorate a Christmas tree? What kinds of food would we share? What presents might he expect from me and when? How could he participate in the holiday activities? Would he feel at home at our house?
My family includes both Jews and Christians, and we have shared in each other’s traditions over the years. Growing up, I celebrated Passover (read in Hebrew!) and other Jewish holidays with my orthodox great aunt and uncle, and they celebrated Christian holidays with us. Whatever our affinities, we loved and felt loved by one another.
This verse in Scriptures touches my heart, especially as people gather with family and friends to celebrate this season: “God is no respecter of persons.” To me, the divine Presence is not a divider, but a unifier. Although each person is unique, I’m making a special effort to appreciate and treat everyone as members of the family of humanity bound together by universal love.
“Are you Hanukkah or Christmas?” We laughed, played, gave gifts and enjoyed that holiday season – both Hanukkah and Christmas.