Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Hanukkah

It's interesting how being completely surrounded by Christmas here in Germany has made me miss my Jewish friends and family back in the States. I'm sure many of you have laughed at the TV stations and advertisements in the US that say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Feliz Navidad. I always thought that was a little over the top, trying too hard to be politically correct. Just say Season's Greetings and get it over with!

Suddenly, I am living the other extreme. Here in Germany, there is only Christmas...nothing else. And, it's very Christian -- unlike the US where it has become so commercialized. There are no inflatable Santas in the front yards or Jingle Bell Rock. There are songs about Jesus, Advent calendars and wreaths, and nativity scenes. The Catholic part of me is somewhat moved, but the Jewish part of me (hopefully I'm not offending anyone by saying that), finds it extremely exclusionary and lonely. No menorahs to be found (fortunately, we brought ours from home). Never before have I appreciated so much the attempt in the States to recognize all the holidays.

Just as I was at my low point, a box of Hanukkah goodies arrived from my good friend Alana. Thanks to Alana, Carter got his first dreidel and chocolate gelt. Carter loves having Daddy spin the dreidel for him and now thinks that all coins can be opened to find chocolate. Carter still thinks that all candles are birthday candles, so while Ben said the blessings and lit the candles on the Menorah, Carter sang Happy Birthday.

Whether you celebrate the Festival of Lights or the Birth of Jesus Christ, keep an open mind and spread the Holiday Cheer.
Happy Hanukkah
Merry Christmas

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