After what felt like too many days of gray skies leading into 24 hours of heavy rain, my daughter and I managed to get outside for some fresh air and exercise late on Saturday afternoon.
When we turned to head home on the Boston Post Road, we could not believe our eyes. The setting sun was remarkably bright and beautiful. It looked like a ball of fire dropping into the horizon!
I did some research to better understand the sight we beheld. How could a setting sun produce so much light?
One of the explanations felt obvious once I read it, and yet, it was exactly the message I needed: During sunset, the sun remains in the sky even after it has mostly gone dark. Our eyes are adjusted to lower light, and so the sun appears brighter.
After being immersed in darkness for such a long time, we have arrived at a surprising opportunity. Now a small amount of light holds the power to transform our world.
This is the miracle of Chanukah, back then and right now: One flame can pierce the darkness. A little bit goes a long way. And if we dedicate ourselves for 8 days, we'll see and feel a difference.
So this Chanukah, let's dedicate ourselves to introducing new sources of light in our windows and on our tables, in our relationships and our routines, and in what we read and share with one another. There's a lot of darkness to dispel, but a little bit of effort, attention and play can truly brighten our days!
For families with kids at home, I put together 8 Nights: 8 Ways to Celebrate with Light as a guide for spreading light and marking the holiday together. We're also gathering on Zoom this Saturday for a special book reading and latke demo (details below).
For all of us, may we count the miracles in our lives right now - small and large. May our eyes soon sense a new surge of light, love and connection. May the sparks of change glow within us and around us and become an amazing sight to behold.
Rabbi Bethie Miller writes periodic reflections on the state of our world and the Jewish project. She also writes about creative ideas for combining Jewish wisdom with our modern lives. Here are links to previous ones:
Looking for Hope at the Seder Table (4/13/22)
Happy 9th Night of Hanukkah (12/6/21)
The Healing is in the Return (8/18/21)
Time to Pray (11/2/20)
The Secret to At-One-Ment (9/27/20)
Taking a Sharp Left Turn into 5781 (9/15/20)
Waking Up One Day At Time (8/31/20)
This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared (8/18/20)
The Day is Short (6/16/20)
Spiritual Mountain Climbing Without Leaving the House (5/14/20)
Shabbat Peace, Love & Light (3/20/20)
Sources of Connection as We Practice Social Distancing (3/16/20)
Purim Has Never Felt So Resonant (3/9/20)
The Miracle of Chanukah (12/20/19)
To Be Jewish is To Be Grateful (12/2/19)
What I Learned During the High Holy Days (10/16/19)
New Year, New Project - Welcome to Sanctuary (10/3/19)