I received this wonderful email yesterday from John Godzich of XGoPro. Enjoy this message, and the time with your family this year!
December 25, 2009
Dear XGoPro Members,
I would like to share a few things with you, not on behalf of a corporate entity, but straight from my heart
We live in interesting times… It seems that today we are to shy away from celebrating the true meaning of the very holidays that have defined who we are as a civilization. It seems that political correctness tells us what is authorized (convenient ?) to do. Who defines political correctness anyway? Would political correctness even exist, unless men and women bow before its altars of fear?
So, for a day, allow me to step away from political correctness, and even at the risk of irritating the potentially offended few…. I call upon you to honor truth, for without truth, it is easy to take men’s freedom away.
First of all, the word “holiday” comes from “holy day”. And whether our “holy days” originate from Jewish or Christian traditions, they do have their roots in deep faith based beliefs.
During this season, it has become customary for Jews to celebrate Hanukkah. And although Hanukkah is not one of the High Holy Days (as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), in the Western world, it has grown into a major Jewish holiday because of its proximity to Christmas. The root origin of Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew word for making something sacred. The Temple in Jerusalem was defiled by the King of Syria Antiochus several centuries B.C.
When the Maccabees regained control of the Temple, there was only enough sacred or holy oil for the eternal flame to burn for one day in the Temple. But through a miracle from God, the oil burned for 8 days, which was the time that it took to manufacture more oil (by pressing olives), and then consecrating it. Jews celebrate this miraculous intervention of God by lighting 8 candles on the Menorah on 8 successive days. It was decreed by Judah that this should be observed every year. This year, it was from December 11th until the 19th.
According to the Talmud, a Jewish woman (Hannah) as well as her 7 sons were tortured and murdered by the Syrians for having refused to worship an idol, and for having stayed faithful to the One, True God until their death. Their sacrifice is commemorated during the days of Hanukkah.
Oil was the symbol of being chosen by God, of something holy, to be respected and revered. So it’s interesting that for Christians, the birth of Jesus the Christ (Christos is Greek for “the one anointed with oil”) sets Jesus apart as the Chosen One whose presence on this earth was designed by God to be sacrificed on behalf of all of us, so that we may be redeemed of all of our faults, and be made free from our past. The Evangelist John says it in the following manner: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
So, if we’re Jewish, let us not give in to the growth of falsehood in our society and not forget the sacrifice of Hannah. Let us proudly keep on lighting the candle of hope, not only during Hanukkah, but through our actions, every day of the year.
And if we’re Christian, let us not forget the reason for the season, and let us celebrate the birth of Jesus by remembering the ultimate Gift from God, the gift of Redemption that began a little more that 2,000 years ago in a stable in Bethlehem. Let us show ourselves worthy of that gift, the true gift that keeps on giving… but only if we pass it along, only if we pay it forward…
And to those who would tend to disbelieve what I have just shared with you, those who have either chosen to disbelieve or who have never been touched by the “Hand of God”, let me just remind you that you too have greatly benefited from Judeo-Christian beliefs. Indeed, wherever and whenever these beliefs have flourished in the world, in due season, prosperity has grown. Wherever and whenever these beliefs have waned or disappeared, freedoms and prosperity have diminished.
So, it is with no shame at all, but with the pride that only a Holy Cause can trigger in a man, that I wish you a Happy Hanukkah and a very Merry Christmas.
And may the love of God be with you during the coming year, and may It shine through you for all to see.