Happy Hanukkah 2017!!!
I’m sure you’ve heard this word recently used as a derogatory term for those in our world who are easily offended, who are shattered by the slightest…slight, who are weak victims with easy lives. Well, that is not what the Creator creates!
He forms beautiful things, unique things, fragile and precious things. He creates the fabric of families…beautiful, complex personalities and strengths…unique, and the glittering web of life…both fragile and precious. The culture we live in thrives on crisis, damage, suspicion and false victimhood, but we CAN choose to see past this reality and hold on to the patterns we see in a snowflake.
The order that replaces chaos.
The glitter that replaces dirt.
The light that replaces darkness.
The beauty that replaces a frozen west wind.
The Festival of Light was birthed in a culture that truly did attempt to damage and victimize an entire people group, but the people fought back! One family looked past their current situation and saw through to the Light. One leader, one family, one life changed the course of a nation! I want to be a snowflake…beautiful, unique, fragile and precious…capable of changing the world, replacing chaos, dirt, darkness and frozen wind with order, glitter, light and beauty.
Happy Hanukkah 2017!!!
One of the traditions of Hanukkah is called “gelt”! It was originally REAL money, like you don’t deal with enough money as accountants. ? In this case, the tradition has its origin from Jewish people in Poland and it was money given to small children as a gift to their teachers.
Well, this year you have been my teachers! Several of you have taught me to smile again. Some of you have taught me great strength in the face of struggle. Some of you have taught me to be braver. Ummm…ONE of you has taught me how to be WAY too loud! Some of you have taught me MATH? Some of you have taught me how to handle mistakes and learn from them. Some of you have taught me diplomacy…need that one! ? So much treasure given to me this year in the form of growth, learning, stretching and making mistakes.
So out of the little “gelt” I have, I give to you my most precious gift…one of which I am not worthy. I fail on a regular basis, succumb to sadness, and stumble over the smallest things, but I hold tightly to my Treasure, my joy, and then I give it away. You will find in this tiny package my treasure…my segulah (Hebrew for special treasure).
Happy Hanukkah 2017!!!
I know that several of us have had some devastating circumstances this year and we share the weight of it alongside each other. We have shared the loss of people we love dearly or worked alongside someone who is grieving, some of us have faced devastation of family relationships due to trauma and mental illness, and some of us are walking through serious health issues. Aside from our own struggles, we look around us and find a culture that is upside down and irrational. I know it is a daily choice for me to put one foot in front of the other in order to return to the hopeful, happy person I once was.
Part of the path that I am needing to walk involves returning to one of the things I once loved…Hanukkah…teaching Jesus through a Jewish holiday that he Himself celebrated. Scholar Ministries delivered gifts to over 75+ families each year that were in desperate need of smiles no matter the age or situation…just silly, happy and sometimes truly yucky fun. The kids in our ministry adored this tradition and I will admit to thoroughly enjoying it myself. The simple sacrifice of bringing joy to other people ended up bringing great joy to us.
But something happened…
A deep sadness gripped me as I watched someone slip away into the darkness. The further I saw that someone slip, the more ministry I laid down and became a ghost. Some of you have seen how far I’ve come back since the beginning of this year. I am so terribly thankful for my hubby, my Scholar Ministries family, and an incredible workplace! Their consistent and careful acceptance of me has inspired me to try to return to being the leader I once was…thank you.
If you will allow me, I want to try to take one more giant step back into my old self. I want to do for you what I did for so many others. I would like to bring you a letter, a post, to read each night of Hanukkah. Some will be silly…some will be really cool. Some will feel like Christmas…some will feel like Hanukkah. Each gift will require time and affection on my part. Each gift will bring me joy.
Please just put up with me, chuckle a little, and know that I am praying for you as you walk through your Christmas/Hanukkah season and thanking God for the strength you teach me every day.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I find the best way to make a decision is to have the facts in front of me. Due to a recent posting on our favorite social media, I find myself tired of syncretism [the pollution of two belief systems by mixing them together and coming up with a weakened, tainted system in an effort to avoid offense or for the sake of inclusion]. This is NOT spoken against people, but a lack of knowledge. If you are willing to take the challenge…[disclaimer…I serve a risen Savior]
Zen – Buddhism
Blaise Pascal – “It is a disease natural to man to believe he possesses the truth.” [does not believe in ANY truth, entirely subjective, find your own path…the 60’s followed that path “do whatever feels good” …res]
zen-buddhism.net – Zen does not seek to answer subjective questions because these are not important issues for Zen. What really matters is the here and now: not God, not the afterlife, but the present moment here and now. [hmmm…no higher power than self? …res]
Who is Buddha?
zen-buddhism.net – “he calmly and peacefully decided to abandon his family, wealth, and power to achieve Enlightenment. Buddhists call this decision “The Great Renunciation”, and they consider it a turning point in history.
One night, having made his decision, Gautama left the gigantic palace, abandoning his wife and child to travel the world in search of Enlightenment. He traveled as a beggar in northern India…”
[His search for SELF allowed him to abandon his family, his responsibility, and his work ethic! Hmmm…sounds fun. …res]
Uh oh! He went to extremes, decided that didn’t work either. Sat for 49 days and reached “Enlightenment” and what did he find…TRUTHS! There must be answers after all…Truths! Well, he got that part right.
First Noble Truth – To Live Means To Suffer
During his meditation, he realized that ‘life is suffering.’ The reason for this being the fact that human beings are not perfect. Likewise, the world inhabited by them is also ridden with imperfections.
Second Noble Truth – The Origin Of Suffering Is Attachment
The second noble truth tells us that the root of all suffering is attachment. To avoid suffering, we need to understand what causes suffering and then weeding out these causes from our lives.
Third Noble Truth – The Cessation Of Suffering Is Attainable
This liberation from attachment and sorrow frees the mind of all troubles and worries. The attainment of this liberation is called “Nirvana” in Sanskrit and “Satori” in Japanese.
Fourth Noble Truth – The Eightfold Path To The Cessation Of Suffering “Zen”
Buddha says that salvation (Nirvana/Satori) is a condition that can be attained by leading a balanced life. And to lead a balanced life, one needs to follow the Eightfold path which is a ‘gradual path of self-improvement.’
Buddha was a man, not a god, per their own dogma…truth…simply an enlightened man. I will qualify that statement by saying that he was a pampered young man faced with a brutal awakening when he was exposed to “the real world” like any other. He made bad choices and lived poorly, made some good choices and lived well…he matured. At the ripe old age of 35, he decided that he was indeed enlightened and should gather seekers to himself and preach complete detachment from people and things in order to avoid suffering.
To this day, people worship a good, but very dead, man at Buddhist temples. Choose YOU this day whom you will serve…your self, your enlightment, your not-so-noble philosophy? As for me, I will serve a selfless, devoted, and willing-to-die-for-me Jesus/Yeshua who did not desert a wife and child, did not starve himself to prove a shallow point, and did not shrink away from suffering…EVER!