On behalf of the Worshipful Master and all of the Officers of Jupiter Light Lodge we wish you and your families a Safe and Happy Holiday Season.
The Holiday Season means many specific Holidays depending on your faith and practice. From Christmas to Hanukkah, we all have a variety of ways we choose to celebrate this special time of year.
In the Christian Faith it is a time of beginning as we celebrate the birth of our savior. The shepherds of Bethlehem were in charge of raising sheep for the temple sacrifices. According to the laws of the time the sheep that were used for the offerings had to be a one-year-old male sheep that had been outside for 365 days (one-year). In Iraq, the principal lambing season of Awassi ewes is in November, and in Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and Israel in December-January. In Christianity the birth of Christ in the town of Bethlehem at the time of the lambing season is symbolical of Christ’s role as the sacrificial lamb of God for the sins of man. There are historical questions about the Winter Solstice and the Roman festival and whether these events are a part of Christmas as it developed. How Christians came to celebrate this event and absorbed the Holiday into their culture is a subject for another time. Over time many Christmas traditions have become a part of our holiday. Prince Albert introduced the Christmas Tree to his wife Queen Victoria to add a bit of his German celebration of the season. Now, this wonderful evergreen has become a symbol for us all.
In the Jewish Faith Hanukkah (in Yiddish; a transliteration also Romanized as Chanukah, Ḥanukah, Chanuka, Hanuka) is the celebration of the victory of the Maccabees over the larger Syrian army, the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple. The Hebrew word hanukkah means rededication. The hanukiah (or hanukkah menorah) is a candle holder, an important Hanukkah symbol as it is also known as the Festival of Lights. For eight days, Jews celebrate a miracle that occurred about 2,200 years ago. Here’s the story in a nutshell. A tyrant king from Damascus had ruled over the Jews and forced them to worship Greek gods. Jewish rebels fought for their freedom for three years and, victorious, reclaimed the holy temple in Jerusalem. Now to rededicate the temple, they needed oil to light the menorah but they could only find enough to keep the flames burning for one night. And here’s the miracle: The oil lasted for eight days. In that time, they were able to make more oil and keep the eternal flame lit. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, called a menorah (or hanukkiah). One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. This unique candle is called the shamash (Hebrew: שַׁמָּשׁ, “attendant”). Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shamash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the festival. It culminates in a Feast of Dedication, Feast of Lights.
A simple description of these Holidays is one of birth and rededication. As servants of our one God, We all have an opportunity to begin anew as we are reborn in a time with our family, friends and those less fortunate. Christ was born in a manger because there was no room at the inn. Even in this COVID time we can find ways to open our hearts to those with no home, sustenance or heat. A time with family (even via Zoom) is an opportunity to rededicate our hearts and minds to the truly important things in all our lives. As the New Year brings us a new beginning, we all must rededicate ourselves to pass from this time of difficulty and division to a time of human kindness and caring for others
If there are special family or cultural means of celebrating this Holiday Season, take a moment to tell the young members of your families. The tradition can continue and enhance understanding.
As we pause to look back over this past year many of our brothers have had medical difficulties and distress. We should all celebrate their return to health. From surgeries to injuries, from sickness and distress our brothers have rejoined us in spite of their difficulties. We have lost some family and friends along with a few brothers whom have been called to the Supreme Lodge above. We will remember them all. A soft tongue and a retentive ear is the very heart of comfort and brotherly love.
Again, please have a safe, healthy and Happy Holiday Season!
Your lodge would like to know how all our brethren and their families are doing during this difficult time. Please let the Worshipful Master and I know how you and your family are doing. Our e-mail addresses and phone numbers are included below. Please remember to contact me or the Worshipful Master with any news or requests for assistance and prayer! Also, as always, we need any good news you have to share! We may face a pandemic but, calling to check on a brother is not only safe but, will always be appreciated.
Jupiter Light Lodge No. 340
W:. M:. Mark Murray
Jupiter Light Lodge No. 340