Jewish and Christian traditions combine on Thanksgiving and Hanukkah 2013, in a significant and poignant celebration of thanksgiving and religious freedom.
This has never happened before and will never occur again. The last time these dates on two separate calendars (for Jews the lunar Shumlian calendar and for Christians the soar Julian calendar), Thanksgiving, and the date of celebrating it on the third Thursday in November, was not an established or legal practice in the USA. Due to ongoing galactic progressions, it can never happen again! [For a scientific and mathematical explanation of this see Dr. Joel Hoffman ‘s “Why Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Will Never Again Coincide” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-joel-hoffman/hanukkah-and-thanskgiving_b_4312207.html ]
Obviously, this is important to American Jews who have even named this new fusion holiday: Thanksgivukkah. Right after eating their Thanksgiving meal who will have room to eat a traditional fried potato pancake, known as a latke? Plus, the kids are going to make a long sit down meal difficult as they will be excited by the anticipation of the gift(s) they expect to receive near sunset when the blessing is said and the candles of the Hanukah menorah are lit. Can I hear an “Oy”?
Joking aside, the underlying meaning of this shared celebration is significant and poignant for both Jews and Christians. The two holidays share much meaning, since each is a celebration of God’s provision of a way to worship in one’s own way, plus each is a time of giving thanks for divine, even miraculous provision. Plus, of course, since it is a Jews holiday, it was celebrated by Jesus, and this can be found in the Christian Testament Book of John, chapter 10, verse 22.
The story of Hanukkah is recorded in the First Book of Maccabees, which is part of the Apocrypha. The story takes place prior to the year 165 BC, at the time when the Jews in Judea lived under the rule of the Greek king of Damascus King Antiochus Epiphanes, who took control of the Temple in Jerusalem. He forced the Jewish people to abandon their worship of God, their holy customs and reading of the Torah, and he made them bow down to the Greek gods. According to the records, this King Antiochus IV defiled the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar and spilling its blood on the holy scrolls of Scripture.
A group of four Jewish brothers, led by Judah Maccabee, decided to raise up an army of religious freedom fighters, who became known as the Maccabees . After three years of fighting, the Maccabees achieved a miraculous victory and deliverance from the Greco-Syrian control.
The first task was to clean and rededicate the Temple to the Lord, which occurred on the 25th day of the Hebrew month called Kislev in 165 BC. Thus Hanukah is called the “Feast of Dedication”.
However, this re-dedication event had another huge obstacle to overcome. There was only one day’s worth of oil to light the eternal flame that is supposed to always burn in the temple. The rest of the specially processed oil had been defiled by the Greeks during their invasion. It would take a week for new oil to be processed and purified. What to do?Well, in faith, the lamp with the one day portion of oil that they had. Miraculously the flame in the Temple continued to burn for eight full days until the new oil was prepared and available. Thus Hanukkah is also called the “Festival of Light”, and Jews, all over the world light candles placed in special candelabras called menorahs for eight days.
Although the real first thanksgiving celebrations in the new world were performed by the Spaniards and Ethen the English at Jamestown, we commonly hold that the roots of the thanksgiving that we celebrate is the one held by the Pilgrims in 1621 CE at Plymouth Plantation.
Like the Jews of 165 BC in Judea, the Pilgrims were separatists from the Church of England who sought to worship God in their own way. They had fled to the Netherlands after suffering religious persecution in England for practicing in ways that were not approved by the established Church of England as it had authority over all Christian worship. Although they were able to worship in freedom in the Netherlands, the less strict culture and city economic life were too foreign to their own farming and English ways. Furthermore, England had almost arrested one of their own in the Netherlands, making them need to seek safety someplace further from England.
Their desperation is apparent by the fact that they even considered, and then undertook the risky undertaking to cross the Atlantic in The Mayflower and the Speedwell, heading for a land that had been devastatingly inhospitable to the Jamestown colony, the only settlers who had successfully managed the journey and previously reached the shores of North America. In fact, by the end of the first winter in Plymouth almost half of the settlers had died.
Yet, the Pilgrims had cause to celebrate as many had lived (as compared to Jamestown) and they had a successful harvest, and were therefore prepared for the winter. They held a three day celebration and feast,inviting the Native Americans as guests (who outnumbered them). That event is now called the “First Thanksgiving”. Of course, being Pilgrims, this was not just a party or way to thanks their guests; this was a way to give thanks to their God for provision and mercy.
Like the Jews of Judea in 165 BC, the Pilgrims of 1621 CE, were functionally ruling themselves and worshipping as they saw fit. While we have no account of what could pass as a miracle (defying scientific expectation), their new lives probably felt miraculous to the Pilgrims.
This year, in many homes on Thanksgiving Day, Jews and Christians will be lighting candles. For most of them, they will be lighting the same number of candle: two. This occurs since the first night of Hanukah occurs Wednesday evening when two candles are lit actually, first the samash (worker) candle, which is used to light the other candle(s) throughout the holiday. Thus Thanksgiving day when many people light two candles on their holiday table, is actually still the first day of Hannukah.
Thus we have not only a convergence of holidays but of actions, giving prayerful thanks, gathering together, and lighting candles, which signifies our ability to bring the light of The Divine into the world by our actions.
May you and your loved ones have meaningful and blessed holiday(s).
Chanukah Shalom, by Judy Rey Wasserman, 2005.
Strokes are all Hebrew Torah font letters, and you can see the words of the blessing over the Hanukkah candles within the Hebrew for Hanukkah and Shalom. This postcard has one of the earliest instances of my signature logo face. There is a You Tube video about how that is created: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXIyrkgvits [Note: there really is no correct English spelling for Hanukkah.If you have MS Word, you can check this out for yourself via the spellchecker.]
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Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory is based at the intersection of ancient spiritual wisdom and cutting edge contemporary science. It shows us a new and enhanced spiritual and science based way to see the world. It is a life changing vision that can even become an actual new way of seeing that is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Can this be true? See for yourself. See more.
Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.
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