I wish that I could celebrate Chanukah, and other Jewish holidays too. I suppose that there is nothing really preventing me from doing it except my own ignorance of the holiday and laziness. Despite my belief that we have Jewish heritage, we’re Protestant and have never observed the holiday. I know some about it but not nearly enough to celebrate it properly. There is a Messianic Synagogue in town and we have attended it and could probably celebrate it with them, but the last few Saturdays have been too hectic to visit.
Thanks to my Mom, I first learned about Chanukah when I was a teenager. She had heard about it from my Grandma. Actually, the word “Chanukah” wasn’t mentioned at all; we called it the story of the Maccabees. Where Grandma picked up the story of the Maccabees, I don’t know, but early on in my parents’ marriage, she shared the story with my Mom. Then later on Mom passed it on down to me. When I started doing research about Judaism I learned that Chanukah was the result of the Maccabees. Not only that, I discovered that Chanukah was not the Jewish version of Christmas, as I had thought. It was a holiday that proceeded Christmas by several hundred years.
I wish my church, and all Christian denominations, observed Chanukah and the other Jewish holidays. I mean there is more of a Scriptural basis for the Jewish holidays than there are for the Christian ones. Jesus really wasn’t born on December 25; the 25th was originally a pagan holiday and the early church replaced that holiday with “Jesus’ birthday.” Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and I do my best to remember Christ at this time of year. But I think adding Chanukah and the other Jewish holidays to our “Christian” calendar would increase our understanding of the Bible and the Jewish roots of our religion.
Whenever I study about Judaism, I feel closer to Christ. He was a Jew; He celebrated Chanukah, Purim, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, etc. I think Chanukah ought to be as respected and as valued as Christmas. Whenever I spot a menorah in someone’s window, I think “right on.” It’s something to be proud of and I wish that I could share in that pride.
Oh well, maybe we can celebrate it next year. Have a Happy Chanukah!