Festival of Lights

Just a couple of weeks ago, Bob and I were in Philadelphia to celebrate his nieces’s wedding. Over the years, I have enjoyed attending family celebrations and learning about Jewish traditions.

We’ve never been able to celebrate Hanukkah with Bob’s family. It’s a long way to travel in the middle of the winter. But, I’ve done some reading and there are a few things that I admire about Hanukkah.

First, it is holiday that is spread out over eight days. It focuses on family so for eight days, the family becomes the most important part of your life.

Second, there are foods that have been prepared for generations that children can enjoy and later pass on the recipes to their children.

Another tradition involves laying an extra place at the table for a stranger. Current versions of this sentiment suggest sharing outside of your home like taking food to a local food bank.

Hanukkah and Christmas are ideal celebrations to encourage us to step back, think about all of the blessings we have in our lives and maybe plan some giving not only in December but throughout the New Year. As knitters we are fortunate that our craft gives warmth and comfort. There are many organizations that take advantage of knitters. You can read about any that interest you and then give it a try. You don’t have to spend all of your time charity knitting. A few preemie hats or a prayer shawl to give to the Shawl Ministry at your church would be appreciated.

I find that charity knitting presents itself most often through friends, aquantances and family. A prayer shawl for a friend’s mother who has cancer. A hat and scarf for a favorite waiter at a favorite restaurant. A baby blanket for a newly adopted baby.

No matter if the recipient of my gift knitting is a stranger (like in the Hanukkah tradition) or someone I know, I find a special peace in knitting something with love in my heart.

BTW, I found the photo of a Menorrah and Christmas tree on the Flickr Stream of The Suss-Man. I thought is was such a beautiful sentiment of the two holidays.