Speaking of Life

Once in a Lifetime

You may not have realized that this year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap, this occurrence is actually a "once in a lifetime event."

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In late November, American families will converge at airports, brave the holiday traffic and travel halfway across the country to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones. It’s a time when we gather together to share our favorite foods, remember all the blessings we’ve experienced over the last year, and it’s an opportunity for us to cheer for our favorite football teams (Go Chargers!)

But this particular holiday season is special…

You may not have realized that this year [2013] Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap. Because of the differences between the Jewish calendar and our Gregorian calendar, this occurrence is actually a “once in a lifetime event.” It won’t happen again until 79,043 AD. (By then, I hope to be celebrating Thanksgiving in heaven!) This overlap is actually such a rare occasion that the media has given it a cool name: “Thanksgivukkuh!”

All joking aside, that title got me thinking about the similarities between these two holidays. We all know that William Bradford declared the first Thanksgiving in 1621 as a feast thanking God for the Pilgrims’ survival through a harsh winter and the blessing of a bountiful harvest. But what you might not know is that Hanukkah is also a celebration of God’s divine intervention.

In 165 BC, after retaking the temple, the Hebrews realized that they only had enough oil to light the menorah for a single night. However, this lamp miraculously burned for a whole eight days! Again, a holiday was declared to commemorate God’s singular intervention on behalf of his people…

But unlike Thanksgivukkuh, God’s presence in our lives isn’t just a “once in a lifetime” event. He has promised to always be with us. In the Gospel of Matthew, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, Christ told his disciples: “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 16:20, NASB). Now that’s really something to be thankful for.

This holiday season, we here at GCI headquarters wish you and your family a joy-filled Thanksgiving.

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