Mrs. Friess addressed the entire JH Classical Academy community recently. She spoke about Advent and Hanukkah, both of which began this past Sunday. Both Advent and Hanukkah use light imagery to express the important themes of each celebration.
Mrs. Friess explained that Advent is a season of preparation before Christmas, and marks the beginning of the Christian liturgical year. She said, “The term ‘Advent’ originated from the Latin ‘adventus,’ which means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival.’ Therefore, the Advent season is observed in Christian denominations as the celebration of Christ’s coming at his birth and the return of Christ at the second coming.”
Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Mrs. Friess said, “The miracle of Hanukkah is that only one vial of oil was found with just enough oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for one day, and yet it lasted for eight full days.” Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days to commemorate this miracle.
The lighting of candles is an important part of the celebration of both Advent and Hanukkah. An Advent wreath uses three purple candles and one pink candle to mark each of the Sundays leading up to Christmas. As an additional candle is lit each week, Christians remember and look forward to the light of the world, Jesus, entering into human history as the light that dispels the darkness. On each night of Hanukkah, an additional candle is lit on the menorah in remembrance of the miracle in the Temple when the small amount of oil lasted for eight days.
Mrs. Friess said, “For Christians and Jews, we celebrate these feasts during the season of winter and draw on the symbols of candles and lights to shatter the winter darkness. What can we do to spread God’s light around us and dispel the darkness of fear, sin, and despair?”
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