Yael’s Corner

Kindling the Flames of Holiness

January 3, 2017
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Hanukkah and Christmas have ended, and now this New Year we pray that God will lift our spirits so we may worship Him with complete joy.

Shalom,

The end of the year, when Jews celebrate Hanukkah and Christians celebrate Christmas, is the high point of the year for many people. My family and I look forward to Hanukkah as an opportunity to step out of our everyday routine, spend precious time together, enjoy special meals, and worship God with a full heart.

Of course, for both Jews and Christians, the holidays require a lot of preparation. We cook special food, buy presents, invite people to our homes, give to charity, and try to keep a cheerful attitude that fits the season. During this time, I also focus on details that will help ensure that everyone around me feels the spirit of celebration and is conscious of the holiness that surrounds us.

It seems that, before we know it, the holidays have come and gone. We are indeed left with cherished memories – and yet, sometimes I feel there must be more we can learn from the precious gift of these holy days.

I once knew someone who had a rift with family members, but was able to truly enter the spirit of this season and put aside his differences to enjoy the holidays with his relatives. What a wonderful blessing! If there is more we can learn from the holidays, perhaps it is that we need to try to carry this spirit of joy, celebration, and reconciliation not only in December, but throughout the year. If we did, the world would be a much better place, and our lives would be much more fulfilling.

After the holidays are over, some people feel let down. But I always try to greet the New Year prayerfully and with a joyful attitude. It is a time to reflect on the past and prepare for the future, to cultivate an attitude of joy – no matter how hard that sometimes might be – and through that joy to pave the path to new beginnings.

Let us pray that God lifts our spirits so we may worship Him with complete joy – despite the bumps in the road we may encounter – and treat our fellow man with generosity, respect, and love. Amen!

With blessings from the Holy Land,
Yael

Hanukkah and Christmas have ended, and now this New Year we pray that God will lift our spirits so we may worship Him with complete joy.

 

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