The Eight Days of Hanukkah – Day 6
Reason To Celebrate
As I mentioned in a previous post, Hanukkah is a celebration of triumph over oppression and the miracle of a very efficient lamp. If I’ve confused you, read The Eight Days of Hanukkah – Day 5. Actually, it’s more about the lamp than the oppression. The Jews have overcome oppression so many times, that it’s not a fun thing to celebrate any more. But an oil lamp that stays lit for eight days on one day of oil… now there’s something to celebrate. My little Japanese car is a lot like that lamp, by the way.
My little Japanese car (40mpg!)
Hanukkah Is Nothing Like Christmas
The two holidays sometimes overlap and there may be other similarities, but not in the details. So I just want to be clear that if I bring a tree into my house around December, it’s not part of a religious ritual and neither are the lights that are draped on the eave of my barn.
My wife gets excited about Christmas, because she was raised in a Christian household. She has a family tradition. I’m not sure why I get excited about it, but I do. Maybe it’s because of the media hype and the dream of snow and family and togetherness and peace on earth and all those warm fuzzies.
It’s hard not to get excited about something when everyone around you is going nuts with hyperconsumerism and wearing red pointy felt hats and ugly sweaters which don’t make sense to wear when it’s 75F outside.
Sometimes I do shop for gifts, because I want to do something nice for my family and friends. I’m also more charitable this time of year. Does that make me a terrible Jew. Probably not. I’m sure there are plenty of other things that give me that distinction.
My point is this. If someone wants to put up a tree in their house or sing some songs or exchange gifts on December 25th, I don’t think that makes them a good Christian or a bad Jew or a bad atheist or a heathen of any sect.
One thing I will never have in my house is a Hanukkah bush. Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article about that.
Really? A Hanukkah bush? Even if it is a joke, it’s just a weird blending of traditions that doesn’t make sense. Besides, Hanukkah bush sounds like someone’s name. As in:
“I’d like you to meet my friends, George, Barbara and Hanukkah Bush.”