Rev. Dr. Chuck Moffett
How Do You Say “Hanukkah” and “Christmas?”
Sadly, there are people who know little about the central truth of these two Holy Days. They know them only as “holidays.”
HANUKKAH (for 2014= Dec. 16-24): Remembering the Jewish victory over Syrian Greeks in the Maccabean War of 162 BCE, resulting in the cleansing and re-dedication of the Temple. Only enough consecrated oil was available for one day, yet the miracle of God’s presence allowed the lamps to burn for 8 days. Redemption, Rejoicing, Feasting, Singing, Humility, Awe!
CHRISTMAS (Dec. 25): Remembering the miracle of God’s presence in human form in Jesus of Nazareth, claimed and hailed as the Son of God – the promised Messiah for Christians, resulting in the cleansing and re-dedication of one’s own life to God Almighty. Redemption. Rejoicing, Feasting, Singing, Humility, Awe!
Gift giving is a part of both traditions, but only in response to the miracle of God’s gift of grace and promise of redemption. Expensive and elaborate gifts do not say “Hanukkah” or “Christmas.” Lavish gifts do not really catch the feeling we are looking for, nor do they say what truly is at the core of the message we wish to convey.
Above the push and pull of holiday buying – beyond the spewing of the commercial volcano – is the living of a life of peace, grace, and mercy in thanks for the miracle of God’s eternal covenant. May we live our lives in such a way as to uphold that covenant. Then we may be assured we properly have said “Hanukkah” and “Christmas!”