It’s early here, and everything is still. There is peace where I am right now, and I am trying to maintain that feeling as I head into 2012 and the great unknown of what next year will bring.
At my house, my husband and I celebrate Hanukah, although there are many people in my family who celebrate Christmas. My closest friend in the world is Hindu, and she has her own holidays of celebration which are colorful, unique, delightful and different from anything you would see at a mall or on a holiday special. Regardless of what you celebrate, the coming together of family and friends to share gifts, food, and good times (for the most part!) is universal.
In my tradition, we light a menorah for 8 nights to symbolize the purification of the holy temple in Jerusalem after it had been decimated during a war that happened over 2,000 years ago. As the story goes, the temple was so badly damaged that there was only oil enough to last for one night, yet the oil continued to burn for 8 nights. Booyeah! A miracle! Who knows if the story is actually true–skeptical me thinks it’s probably been embellished, if it really even happened at all… The interesting thing to me is the takeaway of the story. “Hanukah” means “dedication” in Hebrew. Literally, Hanukah symbolizes a “dedication” or sanctification of a holy place. But “dedication” has an alternate meaning, as we all know. It means to try and try and try at something without giving up. A flame continues to burn–even when everyone else swears up and down that there isn’t enough oil to go on. Even when you, yourself might think that there is not enough strength to go on.
I wish everyone peace and dedication in 2012. May our oil burn bright in the coming year!