On Nov. 28, 2013, for the first and only time in any of our lifetimes, the first full day of the eight days of Hanukkah converges with American Thanksgiving. We will not have another “Thanksgivukkah” for 70,000 years, or so I read. (I didn’t know how to begin to check the math on that one.) You can celebrate this year with Manischewitz-brined turkey, pumpkin pie rugelach, and a cornucopia of gelt.
As we gather around our Thanksgiving table, whether at a soup kitchen or at grandmother’s house, we stop to give thanks to Jehovah God for His goodness and bountiful blessings. While there, we can join hearts with our Jewish friends to acknowledge that Jehovah’s light will never be snuffed out and He will always provide for our needs. (See last year’s post about the rich symbolism of Hanukkah.)
With Thanksgiving being the fourth Thursday of November, it can fall anywhere in the range of Nov. 22-28. This year, it’s the latest possible date. And that lateness has really messed with college calendars. Students here go home, sometimes traveling for hours, to return for merely three days of classes. Then exams start. And unless they’re graduating or in football play-offs, they travel home – again – just one week later. One result is that all campus clubs and activities had their final meetings of the semester before Thanksgiving. And students who don’t live close enough to drive are isolated in their dorm rooms with the cafeteria closed. Not a very happy holiday prospect.
If you live near a college campus, I urge you to try to find students who may be marooned away from family. International students are always stuck on Thanksgiving. Reach out to them and include them to become part of your family, if only for a day. It’s a fantastic opportunity to explain the importance of giving thanks to God. You never know how God will use your kindness in their lives. Who knows? You may be entertaining a future world president unaware.