Sunday, December 18, 2016

Hodgepodge 50/365 - Light

I am a bit of a Grinch when it comes to Christmas—not Christmas itself, but Christmas starting to show up in the landscape way too early (by my book). Like, before Thanksgiving. Or really, before my birthday. (Every year I grumble, but no one seems to listen. . . .)

This year, though, I feel like we can use all the light and joy we can find, so I've been quite happy to see the neighborhood gradually light up. And I was very happy last week (strictly speaking, just on the edge of my "acceptable" time for decorating for Christmas) when David put up our outside, roofline lights—the old-fashioned big pear-shaped bulbs in orange, green, red, and blue. Each evening when they come on and cast a warm, colorful light outside our windows, it heartens me. I've also taken to burning candles more often in the evening: the simple dancing light of a flickering flame is all I really need right now by way of living-room Christmas decoration.

So this year, too, I decided to buy a small menorah and Hanukkah candles and accompany my Jewish friends in the daily lighting of the menorah, starting on Saturday, which this year happens to be Christmas Eve. I've read about the proper way to do it, using the shamash (middle candle) to ignite the others; installing the candles from right to left, then lighting from left to right. I will not recite the blessings, and I won't worry about, for example, the fact that my windowsill is more than 30 feet above the street level. I just like the idea of sharing in the ritual, and in the care-full lighting of lights at this dark time, and the public sharing of intention. And yes, thinking about what this holiday represents for my Jewish friends—who I hope don't consider my act disrespectful. I mean utter respect.

The menorah and candles arrived in the mail today. I'm stoked for Saturday to arrive!

P.S. There is also a "virtual" candle-lighting project at, which by its very (web-based) nature is highly international. It's a cool idea. I lit a candle today, with a wish that everyone in this world experiences peace and hope, today, tomorrow, and always. One can dream . . .

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