The season of light is behind us as the light itself grows longer and stronger. It’s beautiful the way so many festivals of light converge upon November and December: Diwali, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Solstice. People have responded to the turning of the year in so many forms, calling forth light to balance the dark.
I have kindled the lights of Hanukah every year for my entire life, using the helper candle to light first one, then two, then eventually eight candles; I have loved the story of resistance and hope they commemorate; but I have never seen such an eloquent evocation of the ritual as this, by Sue Fendrick:
The reason I love Hanukkah is because its most important practice and central enactment is this:
Light a small light–no more, but no less. Bless that. Acknowledge that you are walking a path that others have walked before you, and be grateful for that. Note also with gratitude that you have reached the point, once again, of beginning. Tell others that you are doing it. Then, light a little more. Bless it at every stage.
Oh, and one more thing. There is always help available. From a Source That Is Not Diminished By Helping (TM).
If there’s a better ritual summary of how to do good in and make good of our lives, I don’t know what it is.
Hanukah, the Festival of Lights, is over for another year. The Season of Light is drawing to a close. But this practice of beginning, shining one light, beginning again, shining more, telling others, blessing the light–it continues. I hope that that will sustain you in the long-haul work of upholding justice and compassion when powerful forces are arrayed against them. And I hope you will remember that we are not alone, nor without help from sources that are not diminished by helping. May your little light shine brightly this year, and when it’s struggling, you know where to come to see hundreds of other little lights and be renewed.