For our Jewish friends, this evening begins the celebration of Hannukah, or the Festival of Lights. That this celebration coincides with Christmas has nothing to do with the later Christian celebration, but rather with the reclaiming and cleansing of the temple in the second century BCE. The story goes that once the temple had been cleansed of the impurities and profanities of Antiochus IV, there remained only enough oil to burn for one day. The miracle of Hannukah is that this small amount of oil burned for eight days, the length of time needed to prepare oil for use in the temple.
The holiday, then, symbolizes the reclaiming of the sacred from the profane, the victory of light over darkness. For those who celebrate the day, Happy Hannukah!
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