One memorable Advent, I wondered if I was going to set our kitchen table on fire when I started lighting all the candles amassed on its surface. There were four thick pastel candles on our Advent wreath and six slender primary-colored ones in our nearly-full Chanukah candelabrum, properly known as a chanukiah. (A full chanukiah is composed of nine candles, with four candles on each side of a raised center candle). My husband and I are both Jewish followers of Jesus and wanted our children to connect with the hope and history embedded in both observances. It seemed like a good idea until I realized that our kitchen table was starting to look like a campfire without the s’mores.
As a Jew, I’d grown up celebrating Hanukkah. My parents emphasized that Christmas and Easter were Gentile holidays, and as a result, I never paid much attention to them. So how did a nice, Hanukkah-celebrating Jewish girl like me come to embrace Advent? [Read more]