It seems fitting that 2016 approached its close with fake claims that we’d just endured the darkest night in 500 years, the result of a lunar eclipse coinciding with the winter solstice. December 21 was not particularly dark, nor was there was a lunar eclipse- which proves, I think, that the world is not as gloomy as people think. In a true coincidence, Hanukkah and Christmas Eve coincided for the first time in nearly forty years, sending a powerful retort to sinister forces that seek to divide us.
The tradition of lighting candles at the close of the year reflects our ancestors’ courageous effort to conquer the shadows of winter’s shortest days. Our family did its part, singing Silent Night amidst a peaceful glow at Trinity Church on the Green, and returning home afterwards to recite blessings over the flames that danced atop our Hanukkah menorah.
The equinox has past, and once again the Earth has shifted its path to carry us back toward the sun. It will be weeks before we have more than a few hours of sunlight each day to brighten our faces, but our lives are already illuminated by the radiance of your ideals, your compassion, and your commitment to all that is good.
May each of your candles shine brilliantly and nurture us through the chilly days that lie ahead.