Friday, December 3, 2010


It is Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. The special 8-branch menorah is lit in homes, one candle at a time, for the eight days of the celebration--commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple by Judas Maccabaeus and his followers after its desecration by the Seleucid Greeks who tried to force the Jews (even by torture and executions) to give up their faith and practices and become (if I may put it this way) secularized and modern. The story is told in the Books of Maccabees (for some, found in the "apocrypha" or "deutero-canonical" section of their Bibles).

In the month of December, when nights rush toward the winter solstice getting longer and longer, we Christians also celebrate our own "festival of lights," our 4-candle Advent wreath. It is our marking of the time of waiting and expectation for the arrival of the One who will bring justice and peace, forgiveness and healing, to our hearts and to the world.

Whether we look back to the events of the 2nd century BCE to Judas and his followers, or to the birth of Jesus, we look to one whom we long for as our savior. And we also know that if we are to be children of the light, we must stand in solidarity with the light--the light of menorah and the wreath. For both Jews and Christians, the words of the Fourth Gospel are true and important: 'The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it."

In the spirit of this season, I offer below a clip from "Peter, Paul & Mary: A Holiday Celebration." Enjoy, and let's commit to keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts.

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