Sunday, December 21, 2008

Celebrating the light


December heralds festivals and celebrations that mark a broad palette of significant events, but all encompass and incorporate an ancient honoring of light in the darkest moment of the year. At our house, we are neither Christian, nor Jew, nor really any other traditional faith, but we appreciate the opportunity to pause and revere those who have brought wisdom and love and faith into the lives of humanity across the millennia.

We welcome Santa here, but we have also adapted the Jewish tradition of Hanukkah because it so beautifully celebrates ourselves, our family, our communities, and our world. We each light a candle each night, in order by generation, giving each of us two nights to create light and utter an affirmation.

Here, now, on this first night of the Jewish winter holiday, our family's own adapted citations, yours for the taking if you ever wish to incorporate such a moment into your lives. From our family to yours-

Shalom.

First Night
Thank you for the gift of life. Tonight we light this candle to remember our obligation to be the light in our lives and our world.

Second Night
Thank you for the gifts of talent, creativity, and inspiration. Tonight we remind ourselves to use these gifts to bring light into the lives of those around us.

Third Night
Thank you for the gift of family. Tonight we light this candle to celebrate those who know us best, who stand witness to our days and months and years, whose love is without condition and sustains us.

Fourth Night
Tonight we light this candle to celebrate Faith, to hope that always we will have the wisdom to accept the limits of knowledge and accept the presence of the inexplicable.

Fifth Night
Thank you for the gift of community and for the special collection of people in our neighborhood. Tonight we light this candle to celebrate the joy they bring to our lives and to committing to reflect that joy back into the world.

Sixth Night
Thank you for the power to change the way things are. Tonight we light this candle to celebrate the flame that burns within each of us for justice and peace and to commit bringing about that change.

Seventh Night
Thank you for the collection of ideals and principles we call America. We light this candle to celebrate the light of democracy and to commit to restoring and expanding it.

Eighth Night
Thank you for this beautiful, wondrous planet. Tonight we light this candle to celebrate our earth and commit to using the lights of wisdom and action to restore our planet’s fragile health.


2 comments:

jan said...

Really lovely. We tend to enjoy the significance that lighting candles, speaking from our hearts and the ancient feeling of rightness that comes when performing a ceremony. Lizzy is especially keen on this; the UU's have done their work!
Hope to see you soon.

Shea's Mom said...

What a beautiful tradition.

Just wonderful.

XOXO