Approximately 2300 years ago the land of Judea had been conquered by the Syrian Greeks. The Temple had been given over to worship of the gods of the conquerers. Judah Maccabee and his brothers led a group that reconquered Judea. After three years they succeeded and one of their first acts was to clean the Temple and rededicate it to worship. They went to light the eternal light -- a light that is in every Jewish house of worship -- and found a small amount of oil. It looked to be only enough oil for one day, but miraculously the oil burned for eight days and 2300 years later we remember this miracle and light candles for eight nights.
Chanukah has always been a favorite holiday. As a child I loved the candles and had my own tiny menorah, the eight branched candle holder, that used birthday candles. I also liked the presents, though they were generally simple and useful. I did get presents -- or a present -- on each night, but some nights were navy cotton knee socks for school or a new cotton slip. One of my favorite gifts was the Life Saver Treasure Book, with seven rolls of assorted Life Savers.
And now? I love the idea that 2300 years later we are still celebrating a miracle and that light can shine from a time of darkness.
Wishing you light and hope and miracles!