Festival of Lights

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 HashanahYom KippurSukkotPassover, 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 . . .


Author: tomwelbers

I have been a Catholic priest for nearly fifty years, most of that time serving in parish and college campus ministry. I also have professional degrees in theology and liturgy, as well as institutional management, and continue avidly to explore pastoral theology, Scripture, liturgy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and spiritual direction. I have a passion for sharing insight into our Christian heritage through teaching, writing, and leading pilgrimages, especially to Early Christian World sites in Turkey. Now actively retired from parish ministry, I live at Nazareth House in Los Angeles.

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