You know what the greatest advantage of not celebrating holidays in “the holiday season” is?
It’s like this: while you’ll go about celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah this year, knee deep in latkes or wrapping paper, and having fun, I will watch. If I’m lucky, I’ll be invited to your parties and get to eat something. Since I’m a glass half full lady, I’ll be happy for you and simultaneously thinking of all of the ways your holidays are reinforcing what I believe to be ultimate truths about the world we live in.
This Saturday evening, the minor Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (or Chanukkah) will be celebrated by Jews all over the world. For non-Jews, the general response to Hanukkah is some iteration of, Neat, candles and dreidels. Wait, can I still send them a ‘Happy Holidays’ card next week because, I mean, isn’t their holiday over by then? Where did I put those stamps? On the other hand, there’s a rare and beautiful opportunity in being near to a celebration, but not part of it. It’s, as I said, the opportunity of perspective. It’s a time to draw out meanings, differences, and similarities through the lens of smiles, joy and celebration.
By watching my Jewish friends observe Hanukkah and learning the story behind the holiday, I, as a Muslim, have had the opportunity to remember some key aspects of who I am and who I strive to be.
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