Wednesday, December 14, 2011
A Season of Light
Luminescence 12" X 12" mixed media for Three Muses
Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, the holiday season should be a time of light and love. I'm not sure how the holidays became such a bone of contention in our country. I grew up in a Christian family, but most Friday nights I went to Temple with my best friend who was Jewish. The vision of her family lighting candles is etched just indelibly on my mind as the memory of walking across the street every year to see the Christmas tree glow from our front window. I was fascinated with the idea of getting a gift every night for eight nights, and she was fascinated with the idea of going Christmas caroling. So I took her with me, and her mother taught me to make latkes. I remember the excitement of being an angel in our school Christmas pageant, and I also remember spinning a dreidel in my own Sunday School class.
When I first became a teacher, I taught my class about different cultural celebrations. We sang the dreidel song and filled shoes with candy; we decorated a Christmas tree, and we made menorahs. We sang Christmas carols, and we danced folk dances, and we lit candles. We celebrated together.
Somehow, it seems that some of the joy and magic of this time of year was lost when we began calling it the "Holiday Pageant" or the "Winter Break." Wouldn't it be wonderful, if children could still celebrate their differences together, if we could remember that this is the very reason our country exists, and we could fill the dark of winter with the light of love and unity that might bring a brighter tomorrow?