Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Those are a few of the thoughts I had tonight when Scott asked me, "Why are we celebrating Hanukkah? And how do you know so much about it, anyway?"
He asked me that shortly after I'd given the girls a detailed description of the Festival of Lights during dinner. Our dinner of freshly fried latkes.
We ate our latkes (and drank our hard-won Venetucci Pumpkin Ale, which was actually given to us by a Jewish friend) while discussing the differences between Hebrew and Yiddish. Hebrew and Yiddish are really not as similar as I thought (which I found out care of Wikipedia).
The girls weren't big fans of the latkes. Actually, Callie wasn't a fan. Neither kid liked the butternut squash casserole that I threw together to go with the latkes. But they both ate the applesauce and sour cream latke garnishes. Kind of like the Jewish version of ketchup, maybe?
So, why did we celebrate the first night of Hanukkah tonight? Even though we are Christians? Well...it really did start with the over-abundance of potatoes sitting in my pantry. I needed to do something with them and Hanukkah happened to come at a convenient time. I grew up eating latkes and playing with dradles during elementary school, and singing Hanukkah songs along side Christmas carols for school performances. It actually seemed pretty natural to me.
And then, when I reasearched Hanukkah to get a reminder of what it was all about (I couldn't remember much more than the Jews celebrating because they had enough lamp oil to last them eight days), I was inspired.
Here is my very uniformed understanding of it. Hanukkah came about at a time when the Jews were being persecuted by the Greeks for their religious beliefs. Their temple had been desecrated time and time again by the Greeks, including slaughtering pigs at the altar. The Jews were eventually able to revolt successfully against the Greeks and re-dedicate their temple. However, they only had enough consecrated lamp oil left to last them one day, but it would take a week to make and consecrate new lamp oil and they had to keep a flame burning every night in the temple.
The rest of the story, you probably already know. The oil that was only supposed to last one day ended up lasting eight days, exactly how long it took to make and consecrate new oil.
I don't know, I guess things just have a funny way of working out when God is involved, right? Five loaves and two fish feed thousands of people. Manna from heaven. Water that turns into wine. Daniel spared from the Lions.
Jesus, God's son, being born a little human to a teenage virgin.
God works miracles. So, when given a chance to celebrate one of those miracles, I'm going to do it.
Sometimes it just takes an oversupply of potatoes to get me in the mood.