Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Keeper of the Chanukah Lights

I realized the other night, as I was sitting with the children and looking at our Menorah, that I was the Keeper of the Chanukah lights. This has tremendous significance since we are to be the light of the world. When we keep certain customs and traditions, we remind our children (and ourselves), of God's ways.

If you are not familiar with Chanukah, may I share a little with you now?

We have used the same Menorah for many years. Each year, I pack it away in a special shelf in our closet. I also store our Chanukah supplies - like dreidels, extra candles, and decorative items.   I have Chanukah movies and a Music CD of special songs. I also have story books and special articles and stories I printed out from the Internet and keep in my homemaking binder.

On the first night of Chanukah, we light one candle.  I make latkes and we play the music CD. It is a festive time. We also give each other one gift each.  Then I read the children a story while they play the dreidel game.  

On the second, and subsequent nights, it goes the same. Except we light the same number of candles that corresponds with which night of Chanukah we are observing. For the second night, that is 2 candles.

I always have an extra gift stashed away, in case we have unexpected company. This has happened twice already this past week. The guest often doesn't realize it is Chanukah, and ends up sitting through part of our fun. They are delighted to receive a gift and enjoy a few minutes of our holiday.

The other day, because it was also Christmas and no one had to work, we had all the children home. My 23 year old daughter brought a guest. My daughter had not been able to come home for Chanukah for many years.  She had forgotten most of the stories.    We gave out presents and the family scattered throughout the house.  Some of us sat alone at the table. I set up the Menorah. My daughter came and sat with us for a bit. I lit the candles. I started to read one of the stories.  At this point in our lives, I do not force all the children to sit with me.  They are all growing up and have many other interests. It's funny how my daughter, living away from home for so long, yearns for the old days of sitting at the table for the Chanukah stories.

Our guest did not know too much about Chanukah, but enjoyed playing dreidel with the children. As they played, I talked about the Greeks and how they desecrated the Jewish Temple and tried to force the Jews to stop observing Sabbath, read Torah, and observe their holy days. I talked about how Jewish Children would sit in caves with the rabbis and learn Torah. But the soldiers could appear at any moment. The children knew to put away their lessons and start playing the dreidel game, so the soldiers wouldn't know they were still keeping their religion.

Our guest listened as I explained about how I must sit and keep guard over the Menorah until the last candle burned out. I said how we are so busy in this life, and that we rush through so much, that we miss the central foundation of our existence. We are here to serve and worship God, not to be consumed with the cares of this life.  Our guest was fascinated as we sat in the dim room, by the light of the Menorah.

As the Keeper of the Chanukah lights, I am the one who is responsible for keeping the customs alive in this family. I am the one who makes it joyous and keeps it going year, after year, after year. Sometimes I've rushed through each night's activities and felt a sense of loss. Other years I have savored each  moment, and each lesson, and been greatly blessed.

The other night, as our guest, my children, and I sat at the table, watching the lights burn out, there was a sense of loss. There was a coming sense of darkness that made me sad to see it end. Then I told the children that we must remember the lesson of Chanukah. And that is to never conform to the world, and to always keep God's ways regardless of what the world does around us.

This is the lesson of the light, that we must keep burning in our hearts, and lives, for all time.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

What would happen  - If I Visit You at The Dinner Hour.

A Photograph from my Home - Tonight's View from the Kitchen.

The Blessing of seeing through - Mother's Rose- Colored Glasses.

- To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -

Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs.White's book -Mother's Book of Home Economics .  Paperback, 312 pages.


Mama Said No said...

Mrs WHite--I enjoyed the post about Channukah. I am catching up on my blog reading, and I was charmed by this post. You said that you have articles and other thing for the holiday--would you consider putting together a simple bible study centered around this time of year? After your Prentiss study--I know you would do an excellent job. Of course--I would only want you to do it if your health and schedule permit!

Happy New Year, dear lady

Anonymous said...

I am trying to learn about Christians celebrating Holy Days, Feasts, etc. Would you be able to share a good resource?
God bless

Mrs. White said...

Dear Mrs. O,

I'd be happy to help. Just send me an email. You can find it on my contact page: http://thelegacyofhome.blogspot.com/2009/12/legacy-of-home-disclosure-policy.html

Mrs. White

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

Hello Mrs. White,
I know that you are Italian, are you Jewish, too?
I know many Christians also celebrate some of the Jewish holidays and feasts.
Be blessed....
Mrs. Laura Lane