A unique celebration is days away. For the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving and Chanukah will fall on the same day. Thus, Thanksgivukkah was born! The coinciding of Thanksgiving and Chanukah has brought out a giant burst of creativity and pride within the Jewish community. Latkes are going where no potato cake has gone before. The Menurkey was born from the hands of a nine year old boy to celebrate both Thanksgiving and the burning of a days’ oil for eight nights.
Meanwhile, the average bacon loving Christians are preparing their turkeys and chopping down a good Christmas tree. As Advent approaches, carols are being chosen and mini Bethlehems are being assembled to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
With such diverse traditions, why should the Christian community care about Thanksgivukkah? The answer is found in the roots.
While Christians remember this season for the birth of Christ, there is another highlight of Jesus’ life that takes place in this Jewish month of Kislev. In his adult life, Jesus attended The Feast of Dedication, or Chanukah, at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This was where he proclaimed himself as “The Light of world”, a protector from darkness.
Jesus Christ, The Light of the World, declared himself the Jewish Messiah during the celebration of a small jar of oil that remained luminescent seven days longer than it was made for. Two religions in one moment honored the light and glory of God.
Christians can use this day to look back on the Old Testament as a homecoming. Both modern day Judaism and Christianity are erected from these chapters, from a time where they dealt with the same struggles. As families do, the people of those times diverged to follow different leaders and cover new ground, but both paths are still held in the hands of the God of Abraham.
Rabbi David Paskin, co-head of the Kehillah Schechter Academy told an online news source, “It's pretty amazing to me that in this country we can have rich secular and rich religious celebrations and that those of us who live in both worlds can find moments when they meet and can really celebrate that convergence. There are a lot of places in the world where we would not be able to do that."
Celebrate Thanksgivukkah in commemoration of the Christian roots and in thankfulness that brothers and sisters spread across different religions can safely live and love each other under God.