Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Chanukkah Christmas

As you may have noticed, or will notice soon, we celebrate Christmas in our household. But as you also know, Christmas is not the only religious or cultural celebration during this time of year. The other biggie is the Jewish festival of rededication, Chanukkah. And while I learned the basic story behind Chanukkah when I was a child, there is much more to it than I knew. Especially interesting to me was that statement that it is not a very religious holiday when compared to the other Jewish holy days. I assumed that it was the most holy of them all. Embarrassed, I am.

I was also struck by the following statement.

It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar.
I had not realized this, and I find it ironic that the writer, and I assume other Jews, believe that Chanukkah has been secularized because of the influence of the Christmas season, while many, if not most, Christians believe that Christmas has been secularized by the influence of political correctness and oppressive liberalism in the country.

And actually, that is not correct, since Christmas was secularized decades ago by the retail industry whose commericialization of the holiday period has resulted in more Santa and less Jesus. The current war on Christmas is not one of secularization really, it is about tearing Christmas out of our national fabric as a whole. It doesn't matter if the symbols are formerly pagan Christmas trees, the totally non-religious Santa Claus, or the baby Jesus in a manger. They are all targets of people who hate all things Christian while complaining that the world is not as tolerant as it should be. Talk about irony.

But I am getting off point.

This year Chanukkah runs from sunset December 25th, 2005 to nightfall January 1st, 2006 and our family is going to celebrate by discussing the holiday with our children, trying some of the recipes, and remembering the sacrifices, trials and successes of God's chosen people.

After I open my Christmas presents of course.