Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by all things Jewish. We knew that somewhere in our ancestry we were Jewish. My brother used to convince my parents to let us open up a present on Hanukkah.
Then I had my son. Just before our first Christmas, I saw the documentary Not In Our Town. In Montana, a Jewish family had had a rock thrown through their window because they had a menorah in that window. The community responded by putting up paper menorahs in newspaper and encouraging people to put them in their windows. I was so touched by the story that I put a paper menorah in our window that season.
Soon there after, I found a picture book of that story. It became a Christmas tradition – the book and our paper menorah. Over the years, we’ve purchased a beautiful metal menorah and candles. We do not light our menorah because we are not Jewish but it has a place of honor next to the book and a handful of dreidels.
As I study the bible, I find a deeper affinity for the Jews, after all Christ was a Jew. I feel their struggles as a people and their triumphs, just as if they were mine.
In this world of turmoil, I can remember that light is a miracle. The very fact that we can create light to drive away the darkness. The whole purpose behind Hanukkah is to celebrate light (because the oil lamps lasted 8 days when they didn’t have enough oil). I focus my attention to all the problems in the world today or I can focus on the small acts that make the world a better place.
So I challenge you (and me) to be a light this holiday season. We don’t have to see evil or darkness to know it is there. The only way to defeat it is to shine bright. To support and love our neighbors though their beliefs are not our own. To remember that miracles are often smaller than we can imagine and yet have lasting and powerful effects.