Celebrating light – Hanukkah and Solstice
Hanukkah is the eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates a miraculous and unexpected light that didn’t extinguish. When the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple after they defeated the Greeks, they wanted to rededicate the Temple but found all one container of ritual oil remained—enough to provide light for one night. The light burned for eight days, the amount of time needed to prepare more oil.
The winter solstice celebrates the return of the light. As our tilted earth continues its orbit around the sun, the days slowly get longer and the darkness recedes.
These two celebrations remind us not to focus on lack, but rather to appreciate what is present.
Whether or not it is clear to you, in every given moment, you have everything you need.
My Jewish ancestors (for we Christians share the history) might have focused anxiously on anticipated darkness, only to discover that they had everything they needed. Today I could mourn the early darkness, or I could celebrate this necessary time of dormancy as the trees and flower bulbs prepare for new growth.
Soon more oil will come, when it is needed. Soon the sun will return, when it is needed.