The month of December corresponds with the Hebrew month of Kislev.
One of the misconceptions of the Hanukkah story is that when Yehudah Maccabee reclaimed the Temple, then everyone lived happily ever after. The reality is that the nation of Israel was politically, socially, economically, and religiously in chaos and ruin. The miracle of the Hanukkah lights was not the end of the very long and arduous journey. It was simply a much needed confirmation that the journey that lay ahead was worth taking.
Regardless of the holiday we may choose to focus upon, the message of Kislev must not be lost in the hallmark pageantry that we tend to embrace.
The message of Kislev is a message of hope.
It's easy to forget this, in the dark and troubling days that we so often see around us. We want to close our minds to the harshness and evil. Shut the door, close the blinds, so that we can't see the homeless out on the street as we sing, “All is well, all is well....”
But, in so doing, we risk missing the message all together. The consistent theme of this season, for both Christian and Jew, is that there is hope. God has not forsaken us. And while unthinkable struggles may lay ahead, God has demonstrated Himself faithful: not in removing the things we fear, but carrying us through them.
The month of Kislev is the month of darkness, when cold nights reign over the earth. We must remember that this holiday season is not for us to pretend that the state of the world is not as desperate as we really know it to be. Rather, it is for us to recognize that God is with us, even here. And while “weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)