Growing up in the hills of Burbank, we had some lovely neighbors.
One day, our next door neighbor came over with her young daughter and knocked on our front door. The mother was a little frazzled. We could see the little girl had been crying, but wanted to act grown-up, so she put on her best face. She had a question to ask us – a serious one. However, as she began to speak she was overcome with emotion and her mom had to step in on her behalf.
“Today, my daughter came home from elementary school crying. I was deeply concerned and asked her what was wrong,” her mom said.
“How come we don’t celebrate Christmas like everyone else?” the little girl asked.
Knowing how upset her daughter was and wanting to cheer her up, the mother joyfully replied, “That’s because we’re Jewish and we celebrate Hanukkah!”
“But they have Christmas trees and ornaments,” the girl sniffled.
“But honey, we have a Menorah and dreidel,” her mom replied. “And we play games!”
“But” the girl whimpered, “they have Christmas presents and they sing Christmas songs.”
Her mom responded, “Honey, we have presents, too.” Knowing that her daughter was not sharing in her optimistic response, her mother cheerfully said, “Besides, there’s eight days to Hanukkah!”
Without missing a beat, the young girl replied, “Yeah, but there’s 12 days to Christmas!” With tears running down her precious face, the little girl sobbed!
“I tried to tell her it’s just a song, but she doesn’t believe me. I tried to explain that Christmas is just one day and that Hanukkah lasts eight days,” her mom explained. “She thinks I’m just telling her that, so she’ll feel better and stop crying.”
We explained to her daughter that her mom was right. The 12 Days of Christmas was just a song; there’s only one day to Christmas. Furthermore, we explained that many love the holiday so much, that they celebrate it throughout the month of December, as they shop for gifts, purchase Christmas trees, have parties, etc.
When the little girl realized that there was only one day to Christmas, but there were eight days to Hanukkah, her face lit up!
With a smile on her face, the little girl turned to her mom and exclaimed, “Mommy, we have eight days to Hanukkah!”
and Merry Christmas!
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…
A time to weep and a time to laugh.” Ecc. 3: 1 and 4