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The Holiday Tie That Binds

Christmas mug


Gobble Til You Wobble

Thinking about the holidays, the first one that came up was Thanksgiving. It was day filled with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, pie and of course football. No day is complete without a healthy smattering of all. We see the best, worst and craziest of all family members making some wish they had been adopted out at birth. Families gather around tables laden with goodies of all kinds. Children running, playing and stealing treats off of the desert table while dads pretend to look the other way.

Traditionally, it was a time of reflection of who we were as a nation and what our ancestors went through to come to this land. The friendships they forged with the people of the land, enduring months without the basic necessities of life, coupled with diseases that ravaged entire families and villages. Most would gather around the table from year to year, each person telling what they were most thankful for. The elders would share tells of hardships from days past, someone would say grace and the turkey would be carved.

Time has changed as our nation has become more narcissistic in behavior. Let that sink in. We no longer seem to be thankful, rarely even stopping to say thank you. It’s unfortunate that of all the holidays this one is fizzling out into the ashes of apathy and defeat.

You do not have to look far on Thanksgiving day to see this. Go to any place of business to see the many lines of people waiting for the new definition of Thanksgiving, better known as Black Friday. Nothing spells thankful more than crowds of people lining up for sales on items they may or may not need in a society where we have more than enough already.

This season, however, the presidential turkey pardoning has many Americans chuckling as turkey one and two have entered the ring. Named, peas and carrots it will be anyone’s guess which vegetable President Trump likes the least. You can click the link to see the results of the poll that was taken by the White House on Monday - Tuesday pleading for peas and carrots to be granted immunity.



Jingle All the Way

With a ho, ho, ho off we go, merrily on our own way. While Frosty sings, jingle bells ring, santa is on his way. This holiday, unlike Thanksgiving, which is solely American, is celebrated the world over. It is the biggest holiday season retail wise as shoppers scramble to find those meaningful, quirky, fun or downright unusual gifts for family, friends and others. It is a time for gift wrapping, secret Santas and more. Elves start popping up on shelves, fireplaces and the odd little nooks that will keep watchful eyes over errant children as the date with Santa draws near.

The thing that stands the test of time is the childlike wonder of the holidays. One time a year there is almost something magical about this time. People abandon a certain amount of their adulthood and embrace their childlikeness once again. One cannot help but feel inspired to see this particular holiday, especially through the eyes of the children. The eyes that light up when presents begin appearing under the tree. The joy as the cookie jars overflow with their favorite holiday treats.

Christmas trees lit with colorful lights, tinsels of color silver, red or green. Ornaments of every size, shape and novelty. The smell of pine, cinnamon, roasted chestnuts and warm baked cookies is enough to bring out the best in every person with a heart and soul. Christmas music playing in the background everywhere you go. Who can forget the parades, the movie marathons, the endless drives through neighborhoods lit up with festival lights to get you in the Christmas spirit. These festivities usually start around Thanksgiving, you are a Scrooge if you do not feel at least a little festive.

The Festival of Lights

The one holiday that gets the least attention is Hanukkah. This holiday is a mix of joy and sorrow for our Jewish friends.

“Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, celebrates the Maccabean Revolt (167-160 BCE), and the narrative that Jewish rebel Judas Maccabeus vanquished the evil Greek emperor Antiochus and rededicated the Temple, at which the miracle of the oil occurred.”

Each year the Jewish people celebrate by lighting the Menorah signifying the miracle of the oil in The Jewish Temple of old. The amount of oil the Jewish eople found was only a single cruise yet miraculously that single one day supply of oil lasted for eight days The Festival of Lights as it called is an eight day celebration that starts with the lighting of a candle for eight consecutive days. The celebration includes, as all holidays do, food, families and fun.

There are some little known facts about the term Hanukkah that will be highlighted here: It is the only Jewish festival not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible The Holiday is associated with “eating doughnuts” made with oil. Traditionally chocolate coins are exchanged wrapped in gold or silver A game is played called “Spin the Dreidel” where the winner receives a chocolate coin. The last tradition is relatively new as Christmas is not a holiday the Jewish people would celebrate, however in late 19th century due to consumerism they incorporated their own version of the tradition.

The Tie That Binds Us All

In all the holiday festivities I believe one quote can tie all Americans, all citizens of the world together as one. On Thanksgiving we are thankful for the Pilgrims risking their lives across treacherous seas, hostile lands to forge through their blood, sweat and tears what would become the greatest nation on earth.

It was Christmas time that brought us The Son of God being born as a babe, while the heavens lit up in song for the shepherds, wise men from afar bearing gifts for the newborn king, warning the young parents to flee from the certain death at the hands of king Herod.

The brave warriors, the Maccabees who bravely fought against those who would destroy their lives, their heritage and their lands. How to this day they celebrate with the lighting of the Menorah as a memorial forever. This reminds them at the darkest times a miracle can still be found. To tie all these Holidays together as one we will use the saying used on every major Jewish Holiday because it fits.

“They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat.”



Shawn Mullin / Journalist
Shawn Mullin is a deep thinker, political junkie, historian (for the love of it), Christian (always), wife, mom and GiGi. She is also a writer at Life Letter Cafe and blogger at searching-godsheart.blog.
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