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The Warmth and Hope of Light at Hanukkah and Christmas

At the darkest time of the year, we can all kindle a spark of brightness.

Holiday light
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It’s no coincidence that two religious festivals that focus on light—Hanukkah and Christmas—take place at the darkest time of year.

In the case of Hanukkah, which is literally referred to as the Jewish Festival of Lights, light builds, day by day, from a single flicker into a sparkling blaze of a full Hanukkah menorah.

At Christmastime, the story is told of baby Jesus being born under the Star of Bethlehem, whose light guides the Magi to his side. And today, on trees, on mantles, and on the outside of many homes, twinkling lights are a bright and inviting symbol of Christmas.

I think a lot about light every December. I think about how warm and calm I feel in the presence of a beautiful holiday light display. I think about the fragility of a single light, like that small first candle on my Hanukkah menorah, and the collective power of a group of lights all illuminated together.

And I think about courage—the courage it takes to kindle a spark of light; the strength required to summon light when the short days beckon us to hibernate in the darkness; the bravery we need to keep our lights shining, day by day.

Do you feel the connection between holiday lights and the act of bravery you use to illuminate yours? Do you feel your inner light fueling the brightness you will put out into the world this holiday season? How can you build on the sparks that start your journey through this time of year?

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