Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Festival of Lights

Tonite marked the first night of Hannaukah.

Or, as my officemate Sam refers to it, the Jewish Christmas.

Now, I'm not Jewish, but my officemate is. So, I put a little Menorah in our office in honor of Hannaukah...and that was enough to set off the first rant of the season...something about how Hannaukah has become so commercial, even a Christian like myself was celebrating it.

It's no secret around the Wing that Sam is a notorious holiday grinch, and each holiday season, he launches into what we've come to affectionately refer to as "the rant".

Both Christmas and Hannaukah, he argues, are holidays with beautiful sentiments. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, while Hannaukah celebrates the miracle of the oil. We cheapen these holidays with commercialism. Christmas, he says, is not about Santa. Hannaukah is not about 8 gifts. To Sam, these things cheapen what should be meaningful celebrations.

While Sam rages against the holiday machine, garlands and trees and lights go up around him. I'm not innocent here, with my Menorah, Christmas tree, and red basket of candy canes scattered festively all around our office.

But, deep down, I know that Sam is absolutely correct. Hannaukah is not about lighting Menorahs and giving 8 little gifts (or even one big one). It's about celebrating a miracle that happened so long ago. Likewise, Christmas is not about Santa, elves, reindeer and trees. It's also about an ancient miracle.

We seem to have forgotten that. We rush around, looking for just the right gift...something that was requested, something that will elicit squeels of delight. We worry about trees and lights and villages.

We forget the reason for the season.

Maybe, this holiday season, we all need to slow down a bit, put down the garlands and the sale flyers, and step back for a minute.

Step back and think, and try to remember those amazing miracles that happened in a desert land so long, long ago. Miracles who's impact was so profound, we celebrate them to this day.

Remember the reasons for the seasons...

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