Holiday Anticipation and Preparation by Rev. Marsha Purtell

I can remember as a child entering a large city where we lived. As we topped the hill and descended into the bowl toward home, my eyes widened and I gleefully exclaimed, “Look daddy, It looks like a Christmas tree fell over!” The reds and the greens, the flashing lights and the twinkling of car lights in the distance; I remember how beautiful it looked. My parents laughed and commented for years as we would enter another city how it was to see the town through the eyes of a child. (I will add though that my grandfather said the most beautiful lights as Christmas were our taillights. It meant his four grandchildren had been there and that now he could rest!) And again, we all laugh!

The tradition of lights goes back to our Jewish brothers and sisters festival of lights, Hanukkah, with the lighting of the Menorah. Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. A time of celebration and remembering. It is with the eight candles of the Menorah lit each night by the center attendant candle. This year Hanukkah begins Dec. 22. As we enter this time of anticipation and preparation it is a time to prepare our hearts, to see the beauty of the season, to reflect on the past and put light on those things not so Godly and remove them from our thoughts and actions. With the singing of carols, the celebrations, the giving and receiving of gifts, may we also reflect on the true meaning of this season and remember what God calls us to do this Holy Season. Prepare your heart for a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas.

Grace and Peace, Chaplain Marsha Purtell