At this time of the year, Ben and I are very busy as our holidays begin with the start of Chanukkah, carry on through Christmas and culminate with New Year's Eve.
We light the chanukiah for eight nights each year in remembrance of the miracle of light when the Maccabees defeated the Romans. In the temple, there was only enough oil to burn for one day, and it took 8 days for more oil to be consecrated for burning. Miraculously the one day's worth of oil burned for eight days, and the temple was once again dedicated. So each year, when we light the chanukiah, we remember the miracle of light. We remember that the Light of God is within each of us, and we remember that miracles DO occur and that the possibilities for miracles are endless.
Each year, I make various sorts of latkes, some we eat with sour cream and others go well with apple sauce. As the focus is on oil, the traditional foods we eat are those cooked in oil.
Being LDS also, our celebrations move from the eight days of Chanukkah to that of Christmas and the miracle which it brings.
People who walk into our home at this time of year can be quite confused as we combine our decorations. In fact, this year, our chanukiah is right in front of our nativity. LOL
One of the traditions which we have started has been to go to the Mesa Arizona Temple and see the lights. We've been once this year, but we did not have a chance to see many of the lights as we were with friends and we got caught up in the Visitor's Center at the nativity display, and I got talking with a Sister missionary from Australia. We're planning to go again on Monday the 21st, and traditionally we go each year on December 28th which is the anniversary of my baptism in 1991.
I'm looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner this year as we're having the missionaries over, and its going to really feel like a family get-together.
This past Saturday, Ben and I enjoyed attending our ward Christmas party. It was really very elegant and the program presented was lovely. We had helped set-up the day before and I made a couple of the centerpieces. The food was amazing, and the company, as always, was just superb.
This really is a busy month for us, not only do we have parties to attend, and church commitments, but I've also committed to bake some goodies for a friend's bake sale this weekend, as well as the numerous service projects we are involved in. I am rehearsing for my part as the narrator in "The Messiah" this Sunday at our ward Christmas program.
Especially at this busy time, we both want to express to you that our faith is strong and our testimony of the Lord's truth, as we remember Him during this miraculous time. Remember that this holiday - holy day, and holy-time is steeped in miracles. We encourage you to look for the miracles in your life. We are at the end of a year, and we are positive that if you look back over the year, you will be able to pin-point the miracles that have occurred in your life. They may have been subtle, or they may have been huge; but no matter how the package was delivered, you received a gift. This is what this season is all about; it is in the giving, and the giving of the heart and not getting caught up in the commercialism that has tended to rule the holidays.
This year, many are affected by financial burdens; what a perfect time to not get caught up in the worries of "woulda, coulda, shoulda", but rather see the world around you in gratitude. Give of yourself in service; when we step outside of our own issues and live in an attitude of spreading pure Christ-like love, the issues which seem to weigh us down dissipate and solutions are found.
As we look to celebrating this year, look outside of the four walls surrounding you, and step outside of your usual boundaries; find others whom you can serve and experience the true meaning of this season.
From our hearts and home to yours, we wish you blessings, joy, and love for the season; and pray that you will experience a miracle that may just change your life.