(That is Happy Hanukkah in Hebrew.)
Even though I am not Jewish, I have always admired Jewish culture and customs (you may have seen the pendant I always wear, which is the Hebrew word chai, for life). Today I did some reading on Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, after I saw a menorah in our small local downtown area reminding onlookers that today is the third day of the holiday. I learned about the celebration as a child, but I had never read the traditional blessings given on the days of Hanukkah.
All of the blessings are wonderful, but I found this one (recited on the first night) especially beautiful:
Barukh Atta Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam She-hekheyanu Ve-kiymanu Ve-higgi’anu La-zzman Ha-zze
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this time.
I was reminded that all of our celebrations should point us back to the Light of the World who has “enabled us to reach this time.” Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’ … each of these holidays be observed with much gratitude and praise to God from whom all blessings flow. He is the reason we live and the reason we celebrate. It is easy to be so enraptured by the American traditions and Christmastime materialism that we forget Whose gift we are remembering. In every heart that loves God, there is a desire for a celebration no earthly holiday can accommodate. We await His return, and every Christmas is another reminder of that expectancy.
On one of the sites I visited, they had the greeting “May we go may chayil ad chayil — from strength to strength.” (This is derived from the 84th Psalm, vv. 5-7.)
May we, truly.