at the last minute this year, my mom asked me to "say something about the holiday" at the family hannukah party. i found some writings i had put together when i was pregnant with dimas, tweaked it a bit and came up with this. it comes out of searching for the deeper meaning behind various traditions and celebrations of the winter season and to understand what's important for our family, with its mixed background. i hope anyone reading might find something meaningful from it too.
hannukah is the festival of lights. we see light everywhere during the winter holidays. almost all religions and cultures display lights at this time of year. this is rooted in nature. in a cold winter, when days are shorter, people look to light and the warmth of the sun to get through it.
the idea of light in the darkness has a deeper meaning of staying hopeful in the face of despair. like the story of the macabees who were triumphant against oppression and reaffirmed their faith in the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights. the ideas of faith, rebirth and rededication, which mirror the changes of the seasons, are the most important of the holidays. sustaining faith and hope in the face of doubt, fear and confusion, are what give us all our deeper identity. beyond being men, women, parents, professionals or any religious label, our spiritual selves are what truly define us.
this identity isn't grandiose or dogmatic. it's a focus on the simple things. helping friends, community building. encouraging someone to go for their dream or supporting them through a painful experience. showing patience with your kids, or setting firm limits with them. feeding our bodies and minds with healing nourishment.
rising above in trying times. seeing everyone as a divine creation, and knowing we are all transformational. we are all on a journey. to give voice to this, our deepest identity, we must not be afraid of seeking. victory of the spirit, is to never give up hope and to continue to grow our faith.
happy holidays to everyone and a beautiful, new year to come!