Tonight is Chanukah. Chanukah is the Festival of Lights. We light the menorah to bring light to a world full of darkness. The world is so full of darkness, darkness from a vanishing sun and darkness brought on by those bent on evil. Though I’m certain that the radiant sun will come again I’m less certain that the dark evil that plagues human hearts will be purged.

It’s been two years since the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. On December 14, 2012 twenty children and six adults were murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we still mourn and ponder the enormity of the Sandy Hook tragedy we are presently confronted by an even greater catastrophe. Today in Peshawar, Pakistan, nine Taliban terrorists attacked a school killing 132 children and wounding 121. How does one even begin to understand the mind of people capable of such heinous and barbaric behavior? They were innocent children doing what innocent children do, attending school. I grieve this heartbreaking loss as I pray for the victims’ families.

So tonight we light the first candle. May the glow of the first candle begin to dispel the darkness, the darkness of hate, the darkness of violence and the darkness of evil. And as the days of Chanukah pass may each night bring us to a place of greater light and greater hope.

The prophet Isaiah reminds us of the important role we play in the world.

I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations (Isaiah 42:6)

Like the Chanukah candles we are light to the world. Let us shine bright in a world so desperate for light and love!

Happy Chanukah!

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