The sixth day of Chanukah is this Sunday, which also happens to be another holiday some of you might have heard of: Mas. Oh. Wait. Sorry. Did I just take the Christ out of Christmas? Apologies.
But, frankly, appropriate for what goes on at our house.
We have a Christmas tree but neither my husband nor I believe in Jesus. The holidays are secular for us, more about the traditions with which we grew up then about who or what me might or might not worship.
I'd love to show you a picture of our Christmas tree next to the electric menorah I got for a steal last year at Target. Unfortunately, when you buy something a year in advance, it gives you lots of time to put it somewhere that you completely don't remember. So no picture. Nor electric menorah next to the tree in the window.
Now, when I was a kid, it was wicked awesome when Christmas and Chanukah fell on the same day. Because then I didn't feel so left out. I was raised in a Jewish home but grew up in a predominantly Catholic area in Connecticut. Most of my friends celebrated Christmas. I'd go to my friend's houses and gaze at their amazing tree and all the beautiful ornaments. My family used to drive around and look at the Christmas lights because we definitely didn't have any of our own. Or, obviously, a tree.
I used to perch on my bed and look at the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of Rudolph's nose. I so wanted to believe in Santa, too, just like everyone else. And I did, even if he didn't stop at my house. I always hoped he would, though, and one year, we hung stockings and they were filled with candy the next day, so there was proof!
David grew up Protestant so he had Christmas in his home every year.
My own kids get to light the menorah and they listen to me recite the blessings in Hebrew. They also have a tree, which they decorated in the way only kids can: all the ornaments are on the lower half of the tree, where they can reach, and Xander now enjoys doing some creative rearranging of the stuff on the lowest branches.
It's fun and exciting for them.
But they are becoming aware of religion and, especially Sawyer, they want some answers. What religion am I? What religion is David? Why don't we go to church? What about Jesus?
We dropped Sage off at soccer camp in the morning and then, as we drove past the church that is next to the fields, Sawyer said he'd like to go to church. I asked him why.
"Because they do nature walks."
Wha? I pointed out he does nature walks with Daddy. Then he said he still wanted to go.
"When you give me a compelling reason why you'd like to go, then I'll take you," I said.
And I know he will. I will take him, to churches and to synagogues and, if I can, a mosque. I'd love for him to learn all about different religions, to see there's no one right answer.
Maybe something will ring true with him. Or maybe not. Either way, I will support him and guide him the best I can.
He and Sage and Xander will grow up with traditions and love and family, no matter what the flavor. That is our gift of the season. Of every season.
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