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With Love & Joy
This is my favorite time of year… Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. My birthday also falls a few days before Christmas. It is a season of joy between the holidays and my birthday. As we get near, I intend to spread light, love, and joy this holiday season. Giving to others has gotten me through some difficult days in my life. I promise you, it is how we start to drive out darkness.
I even wear a bracelet that reads “Be A Light.” I bought it from a fundraiser by Little Words Project. I don’t recall the organization they raised money from, but it had something to do with antisemitism. I wear the bracelet daily as a reminder to myself that if I am having a particularly tough day, I should do something nice for someone else.
Light a Candle
I follow blogger Rebekah Lowin. One of the quotes she shares is from Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenbert:
“The proper response, as Hanukkah teaches, is not to curse the darkness but to light a candle.”
—Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg
Blocking Out The Darkness
It is so easy to find oneself in a dark place. If you suffer from anxiety or PTSD or are just having an off day, which is perfectly normal and natural, 2020 and 2021 certainly tested our resilience.
It would have been easy for me to succumb to the negativity. The only path forward I envisioned to maintain my mental health was to surround myself with others who also try their best to maintain a positive outlook. I used the tools that work for me… yoga, journaling, my vision board, cooking … anything I am passionate about.
Blocking out the noise takes work. And it’s hard work. But my experience has proven that you can find the light no matter what path you take or what journey you have found yourself on… journaling, praying, meditation, etc… There are many ways to get there.
Whether you put out positive energy daily, weekly, or during a holiday you observe, in my opinion, we must continue to find ways to spread light this holiday season.
“A Little Bit of Light Dispels A Lot of Darkness” – Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
One of the best parts during this time of year is that many religious holiday celebrations incorporate lights. Being Jewish, I fill my home with lights. It shines from my menorah as well as my Hanukkah Tree.
My amazing, healthy, enlightened 93-year-old aunt has always spoken of having hope and believing this darkness will pass. She has taught me the importance of forgiveness, gratitude, balance, and having a positive attitude. Her belief is that we will attract positivity if we have a positive attitude.
It is why I wake up every day expressing gratitude and maintaining positive energy.
Celebrating the Holiday Surrounded by Light
I am sharing ways I intend to surround myself with light this holiday season.
Tree Decor– I am adding more Jewish ornaments to my collection, which I will add links to. I’ve also found a beautifully elegant Star of David botanical from Peace Love Lights shop that will remain on display all year.
Table Decor – This year, I’m excited to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, sharing my new tablescape. Of course, whatever I list can be adapted to your faith.
2023 Holiday Gift Guide – Picking out gifts for family, friends, or those in need is a way to brighten another person’s day and bring light to their life. I’m sharing my gift suggestions with you.
Light Your Flame
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks states, “For though my faith is not yours and your faith is not mine, if we each are free to light our own flame, together we can banish some of the darkness of the world.”
No matter your denomination, this holiday season I hope we can find a path together and light our own flames, whether a menorah, Christmas tree lights, a kinara. May we all continue to find ways to be a beacon of light.