Growing up my mom and grandmother took a special interest in the people of the Old Testament. So, we always celebrated on the first night of Hanukkah with a special traditional Hanukkah meal.
I remember with fondness, lighting the little menorah that my Mom made out of cardboard and tin foil with Life Saver candies as "candle holders". We ate potato latkes with applesauce and then donuts for dessert! The best part was playing dreidel and using M&Ms as the "gelt". During all of this my parents taught us what Hanukkah commemorates. The word Hanukkah actually means dedication...as in the re-dedication of the temple in ancient Israel.
Yesterday, I pulled out a box of menorahs and dreidels that had belonged to my Grandmother. She absolutely loved Jewish traditions and even made a trek to the Holy Land. Inside the box, which I only recently received from my mom, there were newspaper clippings about Hanukkah, notes about the holiday in her own hand-writing, definitions that she had typed up, and other precious items. I used her beloved collection to teach my children about Hanukkah, and I felt that she must have been pleased.
It's been a rocky December.
And as I type this, I have a raging headache.
Today, my car, full of groceries, broke down and had to be towed.
But even in the daily tremors of life there is a quiet, peaceful stability for people who believe in, look for, and remember the miracles that have been performed by the Lord in their behalf. I hope to always be counted as one of those people.
Celebrating Hanukkah is just one way that I choose to commemorate the miracles that I have experienced in my own life. And there have been many!