Lights in the darkness


The ancients deliberately chose the darkest days of the year, near the winter solstice, as the time to celebrate Hanukah, a festival of light.  One of the central messages of the holiday that begins Sunday night is that when we see ourselves surrounded by darkness, we are responsible for creating light.  We do this physically by imitating the ancient priests, who lit the lamps in the Temple each evening as the light of the world faded.  But the ancients knew that the visible light of the world and the lamps was only a symbol.  In every age and in every place we have sometimes faced the darkness of human bad action, but we have not simply accepted this as the way of the world or given in to despair or hoped that somehow God would save us.  Instead, we have set about, again and again, to create light, even if that light at first seems small.  As the Hanukah song says, “Each of us is a little light, but together we can make one great light.”  May we, once again, at this season of darkness, do everything we can to push it back with our light.