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    The Miracle of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving

    November 28, 2013

November 28, 2013

The Miracle of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-hanukkahThe Jewish Festival of Lights began yesterday, November 27, 2013.  In commemoration of the victory by a small group of followers of Jewish High Priest Mattathias over Greek oppressors in the second century B.C.E., Jewish people around the world light the nine-candle Hanukkiyah, sometimes spelled Chanukkiyah, one candle for eight evenings.  The ninth candle in the center is lit first and then used to light the other eight candles.

The miracle of Hanukkah is celebrated by the ritual of lighting a candle on each of eight days to symbolize the miraculous blessing of a single vial of olive oil, found in the rubble of the Holy Temple after its desecration by the Greeks, burning for not just one day,  but for eight full days.

The Thanksgiving holiday in the United States begins today, November 28, 2013.  According to calculations, it will be 77,798 years, the next time Hanukkah—the Jewish Festival of Lights and Thanksgiving, the commemoration of the first successful harvest, most often associated with the Puritans and Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony, will happen within a day of each other.

We can be especially grateful for the chance to celebrate the miracle of life itself in both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.  May we strengthen our resolve to work toward the miracle of global peace, remembering this from the great Irish novelist and poet, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis:

“Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature.”

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