• What JGIG Is:

    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forrest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

    Be sure to click on the many embedded links within the posts here - there's lots of additional and related information for you to access that way, as well.

    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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Hark! Is That the Gospel I Hear?

‘Tis the season for those of you who have friends and family who are in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Judaism/Netzarim movements or related sects to be hearing from them either why they won’t be celebrating the Birth of Christ and/or why you shouldn’t be. 

I’ve written a couple of posts here at JGIG about why we celebrate the Birth of Christ.  One is entitled, “Christ’s Birth – Why It’s Okay to Celebrate” , and the other, “Celebrating the Birth of Christ – The Reality is Christ . . . . (ya bone-heads) . . . . ”  .  That second one is a bit of a vent after receiving lots of comments that weren’t fit to post because they were so vitriolic.  (It was then that JGIG had to go to moderated comments.)  For a lighter take on a Christmas music classic, check out this post.   

Another wonderful post regarding the celebrating the Birth of Christ from one formerly in the Hebrew Roots Movement is, “A New Relationship With Christmas” , from 8thDay4Life’s blog.  I’ll also provide a list of articles regarding Christmas at the end of this post.

But all that is not why this post is here. 

The reason for this post is about how the Gospel is communicated through so much of the music we hear this time of year.  One of my daughters and I were driving home from a doctor’s appointment the other day, and “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing!” came on the radio.  We had just pulled in to a parking lot to grab a bite to eat on the way home, and I said to her, “Let’s just sit for a minute and listen to the rest of this.”

I knew the Gospel was in there, but, Oh My!  The particular arrangement that was playing was beautifully orchestrated and very well sung.  As I listened, there was no mistaking the Gospel there!  Not only was the Birth of our Saviour celebrated in song, but the Gospel was powerfully communicated there as well. 

There are many, many Christmas songs that also relay the wonder of what God has done through the Incarnation and the work of the Cross and the Resurrection.  Okay, there are some silly songs, too, like “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas” and the cultural Santa Claus and Jingle Bells stuff, but I’m thinking that most of us can differentiate between the significance and reality of the two types of songs much as we can between songs like “The Purple People Eater” and Hymns and Spiritual Songs.  I’m just sayin’.

“Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing” was originally written by Charles Wesley (brother of John Wesley) and the work appeared as a poem in Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739.  George Whitfield and others ‘punched it up’ a bit into the version we are more familiar with today.  In 1855, English musician William H. Cummings adapted Felix Mendelssohn’s secular music from Festgesang to fit the lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.  Wesley envisioned the song being sung to the same tune as his song  “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”, and in some hymnals, that melody is included along with the more popular version (source).

I found the version on YouTube that we heard the other day on the radio.  I hope you’re as blessed by it and other songs that lift high the Name of Jesus and preach the Gospel that permeate the airwaves now as at no other time of the year.  There are those who come to know Him and follow Him in part through songs such as this:

May you all have a blessed time as we celebrate the Birth of our Saviour, Lord and King, Jesus Christ!  Merry Christmas!

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For some good articles covering the issues of paganism, date setting, and traditions concerning Christmas, click on the following links:

“Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?”

“Are Christian Holidays Pagan in Origin?”

“Should We Have a Christmas Tree?”

“Was Jesus Born on December 25th?”

“Do Some Christmas Traditions Have Pagan Origins?”

“Is Christmas Pagan?”

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One Response

  1. I used to hate holiday music, and still can’t tolerate much of it, but the songs like this, I have come to cherish, my favorite being, Handel’s Messiah. Everyone has probably now seen the videos circulating of the choirs disguised as shoppers in Macy’s and a mall food court, singing this spontaneously. This song brings tears to my eyes nearly every time and I always envision a worship setting as described in Revelation… the total majesty of Jesus as King… that song just bring you right into the Throne Room. If Christmas did nothing more than allow people to hear this song, it would be worth every piece of tinsel! :) How can we despise a day that creates a global halt to ponder the birth of God as Redeemer? Is there another opportunity like this in any form at any time of year? Christmas IS a gift.

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