The sun is about to set here at Ladera Frutal, and when it does it will be the 25th of Kislev. Thus I wish all my readers a happy Chanukah!
Yes, all my readers, and not only those who are Jewish. Chanukah is not even in the top four or five religious holidays for Judaism, but it is of great historical and trans-faith importance nonetheless. In some ways, it is as significant politically as religiously, which may be one of the (many) reasons I like it so much. There are far better sources on-line and elsewhere about the history of the holiday, and I will not be so presumptuous as to explain it in any detail here. But, in a nutshell, it celebrates perhaps history’s first successful guerrilla war of independence, as Jewish patriots fought and defeated an oppressive imperial political system and culture into which many of their own were assimmilating. And Christians really ought to stop and take note of it as more than that “alternative to Christmas” (which in fact it is not, other than by the calendar) that their Jewish friends are celebrating, for had the Maccabean Jews’ liberation campaign not been successful, there would have remained no Jewish nation for Jesus to have been born to.
The holiday is a beautiful and evocative one, with an additional candle lit each of the next seven nights after tonight. The holiday comes–not by accident–right around the winter solstice, and the increasing light of the candles each night symbolizes the return of light at the darkest time of year.
Well the sun is getting low on this Friday afternoon. Happy Chanukah and Shabbat Shalom!