Thursday, December 06, 2007
The Festival of Lights
Growing up on the deep south, I never learned about Jewish culture. There aren't many Jewish people in the south, and certainly not in the small country town I grew up in. As I got older and began to study more, I have come to have such a love and appreciation for Jewish Festivals.
I found a wonderful reading on Hanukkah at this site. I loved this phrase:
The Hanukkah candelabrum, or menorah, has nine branches, one to hold a candle or oil for each of the eight nights, and one to light the others, known as the shamash (servant). We light one candle a night until all eight burn brightly, symbolizing our efforts to continually bring more light (holiness) into the world. We place the menorah in the window of the home to remind one and all of God’s never-failing protection.
I love the symbolism of bringing more light into the world. I guess I can tell that to my hubby and maybe he'll finally hang the lights on the front of the house. (smile).
When I studied the roots of the Christmas tree several years ago - (look it up if you don't know) it made me not even want a tree. I tried to celebrate Hanukkah, but my menorah needed tiny candles and I couldn't find what I needed. They kept falling over. It's just not the same when you weren't brought up doing it. (stop laughing). When I started scrapbooking - I realized that having memories and traditions was important to instill in my children. Even if the whole Santa thing has nothing to do with our faith. I needed for them to have the memory of a special time of family. We stopped traveling to see family on Christmas morn (sorry if I'm drifting a bit from the topic) and started the tradition of staying home, cooking a wonderful Christmas dinner, and watching "The Christmas Story" over and over and over and laughing and laughing. I want my kids to have those memories and not be rushing from house to house.
As a Christian, this time of year, even though historically it's not actually the birthdate of Jesus Christ, it is a time where his birth is in the forefront. From songs on the radio, to nativity scenes in the front yards (and in stores if they aren't protested) - it is a time to rejoice. Records indicate that Mary actually conceived Jesus during the Festival of Lights (thus 9 months later during the Feast of Tabernacles would be his birth). How appropriate for the "light of the world" to be conceived during the Festival of Lights.
It's too long to post here, but I like what Jeris Cribbs wrote here and a phrase from that writing:
When we observe Hanukkah, we not only reflect on a momentous event in history--an uprising resulting in religious freedom for the glory of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--but we look on it as truly a time of a celebration of Light. The Light of the world, Jesus Christ, illuminating the world with a promise of a new life, a new beginning for all who come to Him!
May the Light illuminate in and through you this wonderful season.