The Lights of Hope

This year during Passover we looked at 10 things that we’re plaguing us politically. Now of course, it’s December and the living embodiment of those things was elected President last month. This year has been full of Dark moments that seem to be draining the hope out of folks. That’s why I’m happy for the upcoming celebration of Chanukah.

 

The reason why we continue to celebrate Chanukah is usually debated. Some say we do it to celebrate the victory of the Ancient Israelites over the Greeks and how they could fight to protect their heritage. Some say we’re celebrating Olive Oil and all the things we get from it. Some say it’s just celebrated due to it’s calendric proximity to Christmas. But the reason I want to focus on today is the importance of Hope. The Ancient Jews hope and spirit that helped preserve the Jewish faith, the hope that the oil would burn longer then it should’ve so they could produce more, and the hope that even in the darkest times every generation past would be able to leave a lasting glow on all future generations. This hope has helped keep generations of Jews warm even in the darkest times in our history.

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Photo Credit, Humans of Judaism

So in that spirit I want to focus on the things that give me hope. Because, even in the darkest of times, we will always have hope. I will give 8 lights of hope (representing the 8 nights) and one Shamus (Shamus is the helper candle in the middle of the menorah)

8. Chinese Food

Chanukah and Christmas Overlap this year, and I know for my family it wouldn’t be Christmas without Humbow, Honey Walnut Prawns, and homemade spit-roasted BBQ Pork from Macky’s in Issaquah.

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Macky’s is one of the Best Dim Sums around

7. Protest

I know many people going into protests do it because they’re frustrated, and a lot of people don’t enjoy being protested. But instead of looking at these things as inconveniences or arguments, one should look at the protester as the most hopeful of us.

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The No Youth Jail protestors at the recent Hate Free Zone Press Conference.

They see a situation, they see oppression, a situation they acknowledge is bleak, and what do they do? They take to the streets, they take a knee, the speak up when they’re not supposed to. These people put themselves at risk just to paint the image of a more hopeful future that they believe is impossible. These people are usually met with disdain, but they truly deserve our acknowledgment and praise.

6.Friends & Family

Through the darkest days ahead, being alone will be hard. But like a fluffy winter coat, your friends and family will always keep you warm. When you’re looking for someone to doorbell with they’ll be there. When you need a shoulder to cry on during the tough times of the year, they’ll be there. When you need to either rant or rave at something a politician does they’ll be there to listen. Make sure you always appreciate the people around you because, in the darkest times, they’ll be there.

whatcome-doorbellin

Young Democrats about to Doorbell in Whatcom County

5. Time-Honored Traditions & Customs

The story of Chanukah takes place after the time period of the Hebrew Bible. With that being said, the glow of the candles and even modern additions like the spinning of the dreidel give many people who grew up with Chanukah a sense of warmth and family togetherness. So whatever your customs are, whether they come from your faith, your family or your friends, remember them, honor them, and appreciate them cause they will help you recreate those feelings from the first time you experienced them.

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Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel

4. Champions

If you are looking at the protestors previously mentioned, or an elected official, or your parents, or some other form of advocate. We all have champions. We all know those people who will keep fighting for us no matter what. Dark opposition will continue to breed the best champions so I am eternally excited for the people who will rise to the occasion and champion the things we hold most dear.

corybooker

That’s Cory Booker, ladies, and gentlemen, as well as some of my other favorite champions who you’ll hear about in the future.

3. Growth

People will cut you down this year. People will hurt you, and go after the things that you care about most. However, as this happens, you will grow into a champion. You will do for others what others have done for you. You will become the person you have always wanted to be, and the world will thank you for it. And while these negative folks deserve no reward, they are necessary for your growth into who you will become.

bigkid

2. New Influencers

While there are many folks who you care about already. In 2017, you will meet new people who will help you on your journey. New friends, champions, and other members of your various cohorts. These new influencers will influence you as much as you influence them. These people will enter your life either in spite of the adversity of the coming year or maybe even because of it. I know I am excited for this next year and whoever enters my life.

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1. Infinite Possibilities

Simultaneously the scariest and most hope building thing in this upcoming year is anything can happen. Sometimes it’ll be under your control, sometimes it won’t be. Either way the excitement of next year should always be on the forefront of your mind, because the darkness and adversity of this year is not destined to repeat itself. Never loose the hope and wonder of what is to come.

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Photo credit Netflix

You are whatever you see yourself as

 

The Shamus of Hope is…You

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The Shamus candle is the candle that lights the others. Without it there would be no celebration, no hope. So never forget, you are the X factor in your own life. No one can take away or give you hope unless you allow them to. You are the change agent for the world around you, and no matter what happens always be hopeful in the fact that you, and no one else. Is the master of your own destiny.

 

Happy Holidays everyone.