A Hanukkah Reflection

Hanukkah

Tomorrow is the first day of Hanukkah, which literally means “dedication” and which celebrates a rededication of the temple in Jerusalem during which time, as the story goes, one day’s worth of oil kept the lights on for eight days. What universal messages might Hanukkah hold, whether or not we practice Judaism? Here are a few thoughts:

  • On the other side of persistent, necessary effort is a victory that comes with no effort. Our term for that is “a miracle”.
  • Hope requires the willingness to be surprised. When I lose my willingness to be surprised, hope has little room to operate. Clinging to a predetermined outcome erects walls that limit visibility and possibility.
  • Light, however, can enter where there is an opening, a crack in the walls I have erected. Am I willing to be cracked open and not be so secure and defended? Am I willing to let light in without knowing what inner shadowlands it will reveal or which path forward it will light? Am I willing for my heart to open so wide that light can enter from unexpected angles, from people I dislike or dismiss, from situation and feelings I want to avoid?
  • Am I willing to release control so that God can take the shards of my heart and fashion them into a new heart that beats with unstoppable compassion? Am I willing to have a stout heart, a courage, that is not afraid to face a fragmented world and call it back into wholeness? Am I willing to dedicate my every moment to keeping that heart open at all costs?
  • God, I am willing. And I am frightened. May the Light prevail in me.
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