Fan The Flame

Confession- I love Hanukkah! But Erica, you aren’t Jewish! Thank you for noticing. I am not technically Jewish, but Judaism is part of my spiritual heritage as a Christian. I like Hanukkah because the food is great [latke anyone?], and remembering and celebrating a miracle of G-d is always awesome! Though gifts, cards, dreidels, and such aren’t necessarily super spiritual and truly every thing is commercialized to a certain degree, I don’t have the impression that Hanukkah is very commercialized. I could be wrong, but the focus seems to be more on family and the menorah which remembers the miracle of the oil.

I have found 2 great Hanukkah videos:

http://video.aol.com/video/youve-got-matisyahu/2467289970

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJCSR4MuhU

I love what Matisyahu says, “There is something untouchable. Even when logic says there is no reason to look for any meaning in this world or to find- have anything to believe in, there is still that sort of oil or that light inside of a person that’s untouched.  That that person can tap in to and rebuild and find that basic faith in G-d even in the darkest times.”

Read more about Hanukkah here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah

Let us live every day as a new miracle and remember all of the blessings and miracles G-d has worked in our lives- beating hearts, trees, friends, literacy, traditions, faith, _______. You don’t have to be a rapper, boy band with cheesy re-enactments, or the Hanukkah Armadillo [Friends, anyone?] to be in a perpetual state of thankfulness and awe.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name. For the L-RD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.” [Psalms 100:4-5]

Try this neat pumpkin latke recipe- I intend to ASAP:

http://jewishfood.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/pumpkin-latkes/

I have recently been introduced to the rhythm of the Christian church calendar and Advent wreaths; Advent wreaths with candles, of course. Tonight, I went to a really great Christmas banquet. There were carols [songs, not ladies… though there may have been a lady named Carol.], laughs, and a really great story. I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version: At a church there was an annual Christmas pageant with the children. There was a boy who usually messed things up, so they cast him as the inn keeper. He only had to gently open the door of the ‘inn’ and say 2 words- “no room”, then gently close the door. The time came for the performance and the boy did his part successfully, but after he closed the door he opened it again. He said, “Wait! You can have my room!” This is precisely what Advent is about- making room for Jesus.

“And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.” [Luke 2:4-7]

I know it is cheesy, but Jesus must be the reason for the season. There would be Christmas without feasting, gifts, and family- a sad one for sure, but there would be no Christmas without Jesus Christ. Get it? Christ. CHRISTmas. There would also be no Christmas without the victory of the Jews and escaping genocide as remembered in Hanukkah. Think about it.

Though it seems that Advent is the busiest time of year preparing for Christmas with baking cookies, travel arrangements, shopping and making gifts for everyone on the list… and lists go on and on, Advent is truly about giving ourselves a timeout to light a candle and consider the coming of Jesus. Not just the coming of Jesus, but peace, hope, love, and joy of the season and our Savior. There are 5 candles. Read more about Advent wreaths here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent_wreath

I made my first Advent wreath this year & I’m so proud. It isn’t fancy, but I made it:

Don’t you think it is interesting that both Jews and Christians are lighting candles right now? For the same root reason- remembering and giving thanks for a miracle.

“Show me the path where I should walk, O L-RD; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the G-d who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You. Remember, O L-RD, Your unfailing love and compassion, which You have shown from long ages past.” [Psalms 25:4-6]

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