Some of you know the unlabel-able ins and outs of our faith & while it is really only important to those in my ‘real’ life, I do want to explain something about why it is we celebrate Hanukkah. As with most things in our lives, we try to be aware of the way we’re effecting the world, the way we interact, participate and the footprints we leave. We’re also careful with the celebrations we’ve chosen and the events we’ve allowed to become a part of our ‘rituals’. What goes into our bodies is important, so we choose the best foods. What goes into our hearts is the same.
Drew and I were not raised in Jewish homes, though more so than we realized. Our faith walks have lead us to a place that embraces the ancient traditions that would have been celebrated in the time of Messiah, the ones that are outlined in the Old Testament. Those include Passover, a seventh day Sabbath, The Feast of Tabernacles and more. Our conclusion is that these Hebraic festivals are so filled with the spirit of our faith that we have grown to crave them and love them. We’ve learned that their timing is not only relevant to our spiritual life, but to attaching us with the earth and inspiring our desire to relate to the seasons, the harvests, the animals, etc. in a a seriously connected way.
Hanukkah fits in, not as a commanded feast, but as tradition based on the providence of God in the lives of people who depended on Him, people who were suppressed, suffering and isolated–a place we all feel to be at different times. The message of standing firm, keeping your candle from under the bushel in the face of absolute destruction is one I’ve not found so well represented in any other celebration.
As with all the festivals, Hanukkah is a time of reconnecting us also with our family and friends. One of our favorite places to find great resources for study put out a Feast of Dedication (the translation of Hanukkah) booklet that had a great essay about the importance of family.