Jeff Green | Dec 18, 2008
Christmas 2008 - How Chanukah Saved Christmas
Back toHomeChristmas Edition - December 18, 2008Christmas 2008
Christmas Art Contest
Christmas Cakeby John Diamond
Christmas Messageby Rev. Jean Brown
Christmas Celebrations:a Photo Gallery
Early Literacy:Christmas Books
Festival Of Trees
How Chanuka Saved Christmas
Interview with Maryby Pastor Jeff Nault
Legalese:Holiday Legal Quiz
Prince Charles Students Talk about Christmas
Remounting ofa Long Short Story
The Special Giftby Hope AttawayHow Chanukah Saved ChristmasBy Alexis Diamond
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a crisis.
What kind of crisis?
Well, the land ran on oil. Oil flowed through the streets, the houses, the moving machines, the stationary machines, the factories that pumped out treasures of all shapes and sizes made from, well, oil.
You might think that sounds perfect. Like a little bit of heaven, is what you might be thinking. This land sounds like a land of plenty, you might be saying to yourself.
So what’s the crisis?
Well, the oil. There wasn’t plenty of it. Not any more. The party was, so to speak, over. The land was running dry.
Everyone was terrified. “What will we do?” the people of this land asked each other. “Where will we go?” For the drought was spreading beyond the land’s borders, creeping like a virus around the globe.
To make matters worse, Christmas was approaching. Everyone was alarmed. What if there were no oil-based treasures to purchase for loved ones and family members? The very social fabric of their land could well unravel under the strain.
Luckily, in this land, there were some Jews who celebrated Chanukah. Chanukah, some of you may know, is a minor Jewish holiday that usually falls somewhere vaguely around Christmas.
“What would the Maccabees do?” the Jews asked themselves.
You don’t know who the Maccabees are. They are the Jewish version of just, virile and scantily clad superheros. A whole family of them.
The story of Chanukah is long and worthy of an action movie, like an updated version of the Ten Commandments, but maybe starring some very hot, young, internationally coveted Jewish—and non-Jewish—stars...
But I digress.
Suffice it to say, in Judea 200 years before J.C., Judaism was outlawed by an oppressive regime. This was very bad for the Jews, as we like to say. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was sacked and looted by the occupying forces. This was even worse for the Jews, as the eternal light that burned in the Temple, the soul of the Jewish People, was extinguished.
At this outrage, a revolt rose up, led by the mighty Maccabee family, a father and his five strapping sons. They eventually vanquished their foe, and repossessed the Temple. But it was polluted, and had to be cleansed and put right.
There was only one problem.
But not the regular variety.
Olive oil was needed to rekindle the Eternal Light in the Temple; however, it took eight days to process a new supply. The people scoured the Temple high and low, looking for any oil that had been spared, but none was to be found. Except one tiny vial, with one tiny drop of precious oil, just enough to burn for one day.
Then a miracle occurred! That one drop burned for eight days, just enough time for more oil to be prepared.
The Jews in this land pondered over the story. Could it fuel a solution to their present crisis?
They decided to get together for latkes, potato pancakes fried in ... oil. They invited their non-Jewish friends over too, to help with the brainstorming. Everyone discussed the Chanukah story at length. Some suggested that they re-enact the story to find its true meaning and discover the miracle. Some suggested they try running olive oil instead of the other oil through the system. Some suggested they go to sunny Jerusalem for a holiday.
Meanwhile, the children were playing dreidl. The dreidl is a spinning top, and playing dreidl a gambling game. The children were squealing with delight and trying not to eat all their Chanukah gelt, dreidl gambling currency, when something strange happened. The dreidl wouldn’t stop spinning. It just kept going, and going, and going. It started to drill through the floor. It started to drill through the subfloor, but it didn’t stop there. It drilled right down until it disappeared from view.
Adults and children watched in disbelief.
A second of stunned silence. Then another.
Then, and this is true, a miracle happened.
Pure, black, sweet oil shot up through the hole drilled by the dreidl. Oil rained down on the astonished people of this land. The drought was over!
The people rejoiced and sang and danced and ate a lot of oil-drenched latkes. Soon, dreidls were spinning across the globe.
And that’s how Chanukah saved Christmas.