chanukahWe are in the middle of the 8 days of Chanukah. Tonight, we light the 4th candle.

Chanukah is really a minor holiday in the Jewish religion. It commemorates the miracle of the oil. When the Maccabees rededicated the Temple, they only had enough oil for one day. One of the things you’ll see in any Jewish Synagogue is the eternal light. It burns 24 hours a day, every day and is never extinguished. When it took eight days to get more oil, the one day of oil burned miraculously for those eight days.

Chanukah is sometimes called the Festival of Lights. It reminds me that there is always light, even in the darkness. I may not always be able to see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Light, brightness means joy to me.

Chanukah is not about eight days of presents, though it was when I was a child! The only Chanukah gift I remember receiving as a child was a pair of roller skates – you know, the kind you had a “key” for to tighten. I loved those skates and I loved skating.

What Chanukah is about is family and friends. We’ve hosted a Chanukah party for the past 25 years. We have lots of good food, we sing Chanukah songs, Joe tells the story of Chanukah, we have a gift exchange game and in recent years we’ve had a sort of talent show.

This is our first Chanukah in North Carolina. I miss our California friends and having them with us for this holiday. We are having our first Chanukah party here and have invited our new friends. Some are Jewish, some are not. For some, it will be their first Chanukah party. Our son will be here for the first time in I can’t remember.

It will be a smaller party than usual and that’s okay. After less than a year here, I already have friends I love dearly and who feel like family. I never imagined that would happen so fast.

I’m grateful for the many blessings in my life and this time of year reminds me of that. I’m grateful for you too. You enrich my life in ways you’ll never know. Thank you for being a part of my life.

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