Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgivikah Reflections

Dichotomies make me very happy. So you can imagine the joy that I found this year in Thanksgivikah.

If you don't know, Thanksgivikah was the once-in-a-lifetime experience that just passed us by, where Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukah came wrapped together in one neat shiny end-of-November package. It was a beautiful creation that inspired many a sad advertising campaign, including William Sonoma's "Latke and Vodka party", and Delish.com's "Challah Pumpkin stuffing" recipe. For the more traditional Jews who like to do their own cooking (like my family), it means we knock out turkey, brisket, and over 400 potato latkes in one action packed weekend. Not a bad break, if you ask me.

But in my mind, the whole thing is a contradiction.

See, Thanksgiving, at least to me, is the holiday in which we sit down and give thanks for all that we have. And I don't mean the material, I mean the blessings- our family, our health, the things that we've done and seen, the people who have impacted us. It's the dinner where we celebrate the life that we have, the goodness of the Lord and all He has given us, and the things that we often take for granted. We celebrate the day to day- the average- the things we almost have come to consider mundane. 

And then comes Chanukah, which is a celebration of miracles (at least at it's core). We are meant to remember that even when the odds were against the people of God, He fought on our side and provided, and we won. We were given a chance when no chance was plausible, and we came out victorious against all odds. Twice (once by defeating our enemies, and once by having our offering of the oil be not only accepted, but extended throughout the time when we needed it most. Read more about Chanukah if you are a little lost). We thank God for all the amazement that He has given to us throughout the years, and we even give one another gifts to celebrate the goodness of life's unexpected pleasures.

See what I mean? One that celebrates normalcy. One that celebrates the unexpected. Dichotomy.

So I really liked Thanksgivikah. I really liked the idea of putting both of the celebrations together. I really like the idea of being thankful, both for everything good that I already have, and every good thing that I have never even expected. It feels hopeful. As if anything is possible, and happiness is abundant and all around.

But of course, it led me to wonder why the holidays had to line up for me to start thinking about these things. Why do we wait for the special days to consider what we have? With all the goes on in the country we live in, we risk losing the meaning in a swamp of consumerism and craziness. It's very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of all that goes on and forget the moments of contemplation that remind us of the point. And don't get me wrong, I like the idea of having a day to celebrate the all we've got and are given, but I want to be celebrating all the time. And I don't want to miss out on one because both days feel together.

I think that my point is this; there are a lot of things in life that shine through and give us comfort, joy, and happiness. I want to see them in their moments instead of seeing them all at once. I want to be thankful at all times, both for the ordinary and the extraordinary. And I see great potential for this in the future.

I'm just thankful that the two holidays came together to remind me of this truth.

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