Thursday of the Third Week

Readings

GN 49:2, 8-10

MT 1:1-17

Reflection

I have many special Christmastime memories from my childhood. 

In particular, I remember making our Advent wreaths in Sunday School each year, bringing it home in anticipation of lighting it each Sunday leading up to Christmas.

Now with my own family, we light candles in a different way. My husband and my son are Jewish, so we're just wrapping up the eight-day observance of Hanukkah. 

How to navigate these winter holidays is something I admit to struggling with, especially once we became parents. How could we teach Sammy his Jewish faith, but also honor my identity, my fond Christmas memories, and my family's traditions?

After a trying year when we need the connection and community of our extended families more than ever, many of us are unable to be together given the constraints of the pandemic. Our family is in this situation, too.

Aligned with much of 2020, these holidays look different. Our "new normal" has included singing Hanukkah songs and lighting the menorah with family over FaceTime. And although we couldn't travel to Pennsylvania to be with my parents -- our usual Christmas tradition -- we just received a package from them. They sent us some of my favorite tree ornaments from over the years for us to put on our tree. 

Something about this unprecedented year helped me to see our interfaith situation differently: as an opportunity to honor all our time-tested traditions, rather than a struggle to choose which ones to focus on.

Beyond our respective holidays' religious meanings, we've found that the traditions of these winter holidays have something very important in common: they provide a connection to our parents, our grandparents, and the generations before us. And during a year when we can't be with our extended families, we feel so fortunate to be able to surround Sammy with two holiday's worth of love and light.

Lynn Levis
Human Resources