Monday, December 6, 2010

Channukah, Memories and Musings

       For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.  Psalm 36:9
Channukah is a beautiful celebration to our family. Typically on one of the nights we have a special dinner in our home, and invite relatives for the celebration. The kids, decorate, help prepare their favorite dishes, and do all they can to help prepare for this special time. Each night we light our channukias.  Usually we’ll have some music, singing, and good food to eat. The kids open their presents and enjoy the time playing together. But most of all, we read about channukah; remembering the reason for observing it in the first place.
  - As the main purpose for the celebration, we talk about the events that took place around the rededication of the temple. There was the enemies’ attempt of forcing G-d’s people to be assimilated into their pagan culture. Then there was the defilement of the temple which was a terrible tragedy. To make matters worse and unbearable all observance of Judaism and basically all biblical teachings were strictly forbidden. Many gave their lives rather than give in to these outrageous demands at that time. Many terrible and dark things were suffered at that time as well. But throughout all this Hashem never forgot His people. He strengthened a group of His children lead by one Mattityahu.  This small army of Jews, however unprepared by this world’s standards, was chosen by Hashem because of their genuine heart for G-d. They did not fear what was at the time the greatest nation and army in the world. They instead had a zeal for G-d and His word, only fearing Him. By G-d’s help, this small group of His children was able to overcome the enemy. Victory was theirs, and the temple was once again in the hands of its rightful people. The temple was rebuilt and rededicated for G-d’s honor and glory.
    This has been our way of observing Channukah, year after year. Last year, we decided to make this year’s celebration different. This year wasn’t one with our bookcases overflowing with presents. Before, it was eight presents, one for each night; this year we decided to keep it simple. My thought was to make sure the overwhelming amount of presents didn’t distract from the purpose of the celebration. We opted this year for an alternative to all the gift giving. Instead we had a family talent show where each one would get one prize. The highlights of the evening were Kimberly playing the L-rd is my Sheppard by Ted Pierce, followed by a beautiful piece played by David with his guitar. With music and many laughs the time with the family was a pleasant one.
   Now as the last days of Channuka approach we will continue celebrating. It is a fitting time for us as His people, to rededicate ourselves as living temples to the Most High. It’s time to cast down anything in our lives intending to exalt itself against the knowledge of the true source of light. We have come to His knowledge at a time such as this that our light will shine forth to all humanity. Regardless where we find ourselves throughout the world as G-d’s people, we will stand for the truth in observance to His Torah. Just as we light our channukias and place them near a window to be seen by everyone passing by, so too must our observance of Torah in obedience to the Holy One Blessed Be He, be evident for the whole world to see. May we continue steadfast, unwavering, and true; serving our Creator amidst this world’s darkness.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Mattityahu 5:16

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.  Psalm 43:3

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