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Light Your Faith(s): A Guest Post #LightTheWorld

Photo: An Advent calendar hangs on a wall next to an interactive Hanukkah banner


The final focus of the #LightTheWorld campaign is Light Your Faith. If it were possible, I would invite each of you to attend a special, one-hour Christmas service with me on December 23. Our ward's choir is preparing some really great music, and I would love for you to hear it. However, as you live all over the world, the next best thing would be to invite you to a service in your local area. If you go to the LightTheWorld website and scroll down, on the right hand side you will find a link to locate a congregation near you. If you decide to go, I'd love to hear about it!

For this Light Your Faith theme, as with the other themes, I didn't want to do all the talking, though. I invited my friend Sarah to share with us how her family celebrates during December. I was so pleased when she agreed to write a post for us. I love how she and her husband have been able to find common ground in their different faiths--and I think you will see how well that fits for a #LightTheWorld post!

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My husband is Jewish; I am not. Before we married, we discovered two non-negotiables about raising children and found a compromise. We’d raise ours Jewish, but we’d still celebrate Christmas.

Photo: A Christmas tree stands next to the fireplace, where Menorahs stand on the mantle

But Christmas being Christmas in America, how can it not eclipse Hanukkah? You can see this in every Target, where aisles and aisles are devoted to Christmas and one aisle end holds the Hanukkah candles and a few plastic menorahs and dreidels.

Photo: Dreidels in a glass Christmas tree-shaped bowl


And it turns out my husband is what a friend once affectionately called “a Hanukkah Grinch.” “It’s not even a major holiday!” he grumbles every year.

Undeterred, I try to balance the decorations as much as possible. Menorahs on the mantel above the stockings, dreidels on display in the glass Christmas tree bowl, a Star of David above the manger scene, and my masterpiece: an interactive Hanukkah banner hung next to the Advent calendar.

Photo: Colorful Menorahs sit on a table and light the room


Now it’s been ten years since we’ve started this joint-December-holiday-thing in earnest. We’ve learned to pack the lightest menorah when traveling during Hanukkah, that socks and underwear make great Hanukkah gifts, and that a Fenway
Park ornament is the key to getting my husband in the tree-decorating spirit. But most of all we’ve found the theme of each holiday is the same: light and hope are greater than darkness and fear.

Photo: A Fenway Park ornament hangs on the Christmas tree

Yes, our celebrations are mainly secular. We tell the stories of the Maccabees and of the wise rabbi Jesus’ birth. But mostly we hang stockings and sing songs and fry delicious foods in oil. And then we light our lights on the menorah and the tree in this dark season and try to remember for ourselves, and impart to our children, this
instruction from the Talmud:

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

Photo: A star of David hangs above a Nativity 
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Kristi here again: I think we can all agree that light casts out darkness, and I hope that each of you has felt the warmth of this #LightTheWorld initiative. May we each do our part to spread light for the remainder of this month, and into the New Year!


Comments

  1. Thanks for having me, Kristi! It was a pleasure to share our traditions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you agreed to be a guest blogger! I love getting a glimpse into your family traditions!

      Delete
  2. That is a very special compromise!

    ReplyDelete

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