Friday, November 17, 2006

Put on your yarmulka. It's NEARLY time for Chanukah.

I got a very large package in the mail yesterday. Okay, it was TWO packages, from my family back in Nebraska. I'd requested my coffee maker and small vacuum, but I also got a few other things I'd left behind, such as my comfy purple sweater, some towels and a pillow cover. But also in the box was:
-A box of hot cocoa
-A box of oatmeal squares
-TWO containers of peanut butter (one crunchy, one EXTRA crunchy)
-Two tins of cookies (chocolate chip and pineapple/sugar)
-(there might be other things, but I can't remember ...)
-And the best of all? An early Chanukah gift. My mom found my favorite perfume, which was discontinued many moons ago.

So it got me thinking. Chanukah is a month away. Of all the Jewish holidays, even the minor fast holidays, Chanukah probably has the LEAST impact on me. Because I feel this way, I've decided to do some searching this year. To maybe look and see what's meaningful about it, beyond the miracle of the lights and the perseverance of the Jewish people. I mean, I know that Chanukah is just as commercialized now as "Christmas" ... or as I prefer to call it ... "Santamas." I mean, Wal-Mart even has a selection of 22 items for the Chanukah lover (though most of them are books).

I have plenty of friends who adhere to the "true" meaning of Christmas, whatever that may be. From my understanding, Christmas was designed to get all of those Christians who WERE Christians but still practiced pagan rights and celebrated pagan holidays to choose -- Paganism or Christianity. So church leaders designed many of the holidays, in this case tying Jesus to the winter solstice, around the same time of pagan holidays and people had to choose. Feel free to correct me here, but a Lutheran Hebrew bible teacher taught me that. And I think that even Christians won't deny that "Christmas" has a lot less to do with "Christ" and a lot more to do with "winter." So how is that reconciled? I'm curious.

But Chanukah, now THERE's a story that has lived through many moons. But do we light our menorahs to feel a part of the reindeer and santa clauses around us? I don't want that to be the reason I do it. I don't think it ever has, but I just need to make extra sure. So this year, I'm doing my research, I'm finding a meaning, I'm looking for a reason for the season, damnit!

And in the meantime, I'll douse myself with my favorite perfume, prepare a set of "holiday" cards and a set of Chanukah cards (e-mail me your addy if you'd like a CHANUKAH CARD!), eat the "Christmas" cookies my mom sends me and stew.

PS: If you haven't picked up the LeeVees Chanukah album, you're seriously missing sooo much.