Thursday, November 28, 2013
Da Count-Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday because the focus is on being together with loved ones and considering gratitude rather than how much stuff can we buy. It's quieter and more contemplative. The older I get the more I like that. This year all my children are living at home once again and for the second year we actually won't be headed down to the big extended family holiday. I'll miss my aunts, uncles, and cousins but we also have the chance to take things at our preferred speed.
Though we are not Jewish we have some friends with whom we have frequently celebrated Hannukkah. It's always been a rich and lovely time together. Often even when we are not together our family lights a menorah and enjoys a meal of latkes at least one night of the eight.
Today is a once in a lifetime convergence of Thanksgiving and the First Night of Hanukkah. I think the next convergence will be in something like 10,000 years or something. What's a millennia here or there?
My friends, you all know it's been a hell of a year with some intensely scary times. It's also been a year of blessings. I've found support in new places from new people. I've been able to retain supportive ties from old friends in old places. I've seen a new community for myself assembled from such divergent groups of people I never could have imagined it. I received a new level of support and love from two people in my life who I long ago stopped expecting it from. It's unlikely I'd have seen it all so clearly without the great struggle which necessitated such help. So for that I give thanks.
On this once in a lifetime night though I think one of the First Night blessings sums up the biggest count-worthy thing of all, one for which we can all give thanks.
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein)
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season. Amen.
My friends, I count you among those whom God has used to sustain me and I give thanks for you. May you each be blessed tonight and all nights for the love you have given.