I was out walking this evening when I realized, watching a beautiful sunset, that Hanukkah was beginning at that moment. I want to wish everyone a happy Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.
I realize that Hanukkah is considered a minor Jewish feast, without the near-cosmic significance of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavu’ot. However, secondary does not mean negligible. Both Jews and Christians need to realize that without the historical event that Hanukkah celebrates, it’s very likely that neither of us would be here. The victory of the Maccabees, a small band of guerrilla fighters remaining faithful to Jewish law and tradition, over the oppressive Seleucid rule and the Hellenized Jews who were their allies, and the rededication of the Temple kept the identity of the Jewish people alive at a time when there was powerful and concerted effort to crush it. Indeed, a moment of divine grace to celebrate.
So, let’s celebrate . . .