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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What to Do When Your Friend Marries a Jewish Guy

Or…  Reflections for Hanukkah, Part 1

Let’s get this out of the way right at the very beginning.  I have a confession to make.  Our family has been celebrating Hanukkah for years.  The first year, my kids were little and just really excited that they were going to be getting gifts eight days in a row!  We didn’t own a menorah at the time, and our dining room table turned into something of a mess of mismatched candles and random packages.  When they told their friends about our Hanukkah celebration, things got tricky.  My husband was on staff at a traditional, Christian church.  The community flipped out just a little bit.  What on earth was wrong with ‘these people’?  You know… us.  The extended family flipped out just a little bit.  Were we still Christians?  Did we still believe in Jesus?  Was Christmas going to be ruined?  Should there be an intervention of some sort?  After that, I asked the kids to keep it kind of quiet in ensuing years.  We became closet celebrators of Hanukkah.  And our celebrations grew… and grew… and grew…

By last year; we had a legitimate menorah, we had learned some Hanukkah songs, and our gifts had become more intentional.  We are still struggling to understand the dreidal.

Last spring, my very dear friend who goes all the way back to high school (middle school for her, because she’s a few years younger) married an awesome guy who happens to be Jewish.  The Christian community still gets a little bit upset about stuff like this.  At best, people are usually confused.  But I have a different take on it.  I was all like, “Please, oh please, oh please, may I help you build the huppah?”  And I did.  And I loved it.  They had one of the most beautiful weddings ever.  They love each other a lot.  They make each other happy.  And they gave us enough yamakas for our entire family. 

Earlier today, I dropped off candles for their menorah.  Because… obviously… the most likely person to have an extra box of menorah candles is the Christian pastor friend, right?  I also dropped off a hijab pin, with safety pins dangling from it, because I might as well mix as many metaphors and spread as much love around as possible.  Oh friends… we have so much more in common than we know…

But back to Hanukkah, itself, for just a moment.  It’s the festival of lights.  It’s the celebration of the rededication of the temple.  If you’re confused about where our Old Testament Scriptures come from, let’s clear it up.  These are Jewish holy writings.  And if you want to be like Jesus, let’s clear something else up while we’re at it.  Jesus was Jewish!
Goodness gracious!  Christians can celebrate Hanukkah right out in the open!

Phew…  I’m so relieved…

PS  Hanukah starts on Christmas Eve, this year.  How great is that?

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