Many of us have focused on Thanksgiving and even more on Black Friday but the Jewish community also celebrated the first full day of Hanukkah on Thanksgiving Day. It’s been over a hundred years the two holidays fell on the same day. Thanksgiving, of course is a feast of the harvest and a time of national thanks to our Creator (In God We Trust – you know). We often think of the poor miserable Pilgrims, who came to this country for religious freedom who were saved by the Native Americans and their agricultural and hunting abundance.
Let’s not forget, Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday, also celebrates religious freedom. Thursday, many combined the day and the meal – and maybe even concluded with “Gray Thursday,” a new experience of shopping gluttony. One family commented “It’s like combining two holidays where you’re thankful for many things great about our country.”
Many combined their thanksgiving meal and traditional thanksgiving food, alongside traditional Hanukkah food. There’s not a person who is still alive when last time the two holidays coincided in 1888. The next time it will they will overlap is 2070 and 2165. Those are years Jews will light the first Hanukkah light while the turkey is on the dinner table if we haven’t displace Thanksgiving altogether with a trip to the National Store, “Wal-K-Kohl Mart. Of course it is hard to even imagine what it will be like to have a whole entire day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coinciding 70,000 years from now.
Perhaps all of us need to embrace the day of Hanukkah which celebrates a victory over religious oppression. We have seen the marginalization of people of faith in a growing secular society and oppression and persecution of peoples of faith in various parts of the world. Sp let’s keep celebrating both of these holidays as a time of reflection, gratitude, and families being together.
For me it was a day spend in the Hospital with my mother-in-law who is very sick. It was a very different kind of thanks – thanks that I could be with her, thanks for the staff at the hospital who worked, and for a quiet time of prayer for faith, hope, and the healing arts.
Be Well… and Keep Living with Thankful hearts.