A Chanukah Story…

Tonight the last of the Chanukah candles is lit, marking another year until blintzes, latkes, menorahs and dreidels are enjoyed again, and as the candles burn I think about this holiday season. By far my favorite to date. It was a holiday of new traditions, of new revelations, and one of reflection, introspection, and searching for meaning. 

I think about the year to come and I think of all that can be. This could be the year my husband and I adopt a baby but it may not. It might be the year of personal growth, making headway in physical well being, and in deepening my connection with where I live.  The best part is we don’t know. This may scare or overwhelm some but for me I look at these candles burning lower and lower and think of the tale of the Maccabees and the oil that lasted. I think about the uncertainty of what would be and I think of how in the end what was meant to be happened. Call it God, a miracle, or whatever you believe it is a lesson we should all take to heart. Whatever this coming year is meant to be it will be. I may not like it all. I may not understand it all. Heck, I may even be caused pain and sorrow but if everything I have learned so far it’s taught me to look forward and dream of what can be, to be still in the moment and enjoy the slow burn of the Chanukah candles, and to look to the past and remember all the Chanukahs that came before…

Some years we had amazing family moments. Other years we had blintzes being made in three different states. Then there were years where the blintzes were dry and some where they were just perfect. There were years where I sat and played dreidel with my Dad and “Papa” (his dad) but now those years are behind us. There were years new family members were introduced into “The Arnold” Chanukah traditions and there have been too many years where the family hasn’t celebrated Chanukah together.

Maybe it’s because my husband and I have embarked on the journey of trying to adopt a child to bring in as part of our family or maybe it’s because we are introspective by nature but this year my husband and I have talked a lot about what do the holidays mean? Why do we do the rituals, tell the stories, and celebrate the icons we do? Why do we light a menorah? Why do we have a Christmas tree? What is Twelfth Night? When is Epiphany? Is Christmas a day? a morning around the tree? a season? or is it meant to be a twelve day celebration? What does all the symbolism mean? What are the morals to all the stories told this time of year?

Maybe this year held a deeper meaning because we are settling in to our home. This is the longest we have lived somewhere together. Maybe it’s due to seeing our home so festively decorated, yummy food, great substantive conversation, and actually thinking about what does all this mean anyways…

Finding meaning to the things we do can so enrich our lives it’s important to take the journey and ask the questions. So this New Years Eve I look at the menorah with all of it’s brilliance, and although some will say this has been the worst year I see so much more. I see the year my husband and I took an amazing vacation to Bali, the year when we worked together to transform the main floor of our home to reflect who we are, the year my husband got to go to his first family Seder, the year he also got to meet more of my family, the year of focusing my cooking skills, the year of making ice cream and croissants for the first time, the year we began the adoption journey, the year we discovered persimmons, and so much more. This has been a year I will always be thankful for because it was yet another amazing year and one I could not have known it would be.

So now, although many would say Christmas and now Chanukah are over, I now know that we still have a week of this wonderful season. As we wait for Twelfth Night, this is the time to commemorate the journey the wisemen took to Jerusalem. The star only appeared when Christ was born and yet it wasn’t until Epiphany that the revelation of Christ was made to the gentiles. It amazes me that in all the years prior to this I never knew any of that nor did I think about it.

So what do I take away from this Christmas Season? I take joy in starting to discover what this time of year means for me, for my husband and for our future family and so far all I know is that this season is looking beyond myself, looking beyond the immediate and the obvious and to take joy and share that joy that there is so much beyond ourselves. I can’t wait to see how and where this journey goes but I know for a holidays seasons yet to come there will be a menorah, a candle, and a soft worm glow to light the way…


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