Being raised under a strict Southern Baptist upbringing, I’m sure my knowledge and understanding of Judaism is extremely limited. However, I have Jewish friends, especially one who has been a beam of encouragement in my life for several years. I’m her “shiksa,” and she never hesitates to answer or explain the dingiest of blonde inquiries regarding her religion. I am now non-denominational, but seek to please and serve my God, drawing into a closer and closer relationship with Him constantly, nonetheless.
I am a Christian. I acknowledge and celebrate Christmas, and believe with all my heart that Jesus is the reason for the season. I also enjoy the parts of Santa bringing gifts, and yes, even fruitcake every now and again. Nevertheless, I wanted to know more about Hanukkah, so I did some research. I stand wide open to any correction of my comprehension of Hanukkah, so please feel free to comment! Nevertheless, here’s the southern blonde Christian version:
The Israelites had enough oil to keep their temple lamps burning for just one night. They prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for a miracle. The next morning when they awoke, they found the level of oil had not decreased at all. Their lamps were still full. But, what about that night? They prayed again, asking God for another miracle. Sure enough, the next morning there was still the same amount of oil, and so it continued for 8 days until they reached a place where they could get a new supply of oil. God provided them with light for 8 days on what should have been a 1-day supply. That is why it is called the Festival of Lights. They celebrate and acknowledge it by lighting a menorah─one candle each day for 8 days. God gave light!
Now we find ourselves being inundated with political correctness. It offends others for my community to erect a manger scene on public property, yet it is CHRISTmas. We are no longer politically correct to refer to it as a CHRISTMAS tree. It is now a Holiday Tree. Are we on the verge of being forced to refer to the menorah as a “holiday candleabra?” The CHRISTmas tree is known for the lights it displays. CHRISTMAS is known for all the lights displayed in so many yards and on so many buildings. But today government tells us we cannot display a manger scene or a menorah. Just not acceptable. Too religious. Separation of church and state. And while I am at it, we KNOW Christ was not born on December 25. It’s not WHEN He was born, it’s the fact He WAS born that matters.
Just as Hanukkah is all about the miracle of God’s provision of light, Christmas is to Christians all about the miracle of God’s provision of The Light of the world. Yet, here we are─Christians and Jews being told it is no longer proper for us to “go public” with our faith and traditions.
Well, to all my Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah. When you light a candle tonight, please think of me. When I drive through the neighborhoods and see Christmas trees aglow, manger scenes on lawns, I will most assuredly think of you! It seems the time has come for Jew and Christian to set aside the differences and focus on the similarities─and the fact our faiths are being slowly but surely stripped away from us. Christmas is not a custom…it is a spiritual time of acknowledging the fact a baby came to bring an endless supply of Light, of enlightenment. Hanukkah carries with it many customs, but it is much more than customs…it is a spiritual time when our Jewish friends acknowledge the light, love and miracles God provided for their ancestors long ago, making it possible for them to do the same all these thousands of years later.
WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE TURN THE LIGHTS BACK ON?
- Hanukkah According to a Non Jew (holytaco.com)
- What Christmas taught this rabbi about Hanukkah and vice versa, a guest column (religionnewswilmington.wordpress.com)