Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.


It is currently Hannukah (חנוכה) here in Golders Green and surrounds (Dec 16-23). Wikipedia describes the Festival of Lights or Rededication here as an 8-day Jewish holiday observed in Jewish homes by the kindling of lights on each night of the festival - one the first, two the second, etc. This relatively minor feast is an inter-testamental one. Hannukah means 'dedication' and marks the re-dedication of the Temple after its desecration under Antiochus IV. It is calimed that a miracles occurred so that oil was miraculously provided for the menorah.
The main thing is the lighting of lights on a menorah. There is a large public one here in Golders Green. Wikipedia also talks about Hanukkah food and games. Under food it mentions potato cakes known as latkes in Yidish. The Ashkenazis in particular eat these as there is a custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil, preferably olive oil, in light of the supposed miracle. Many Sephardic families (as well as Polish Ashkenazim and Israelis) customarily eat all kinds of doughnuts deep-fried in oil.
As for games the dreidel or sevivon (a four-sided spinning top) is popular. Each side
has a different Hebrew letter - נ [Nun] ג [Gimel] ה [He] ש [Shin]. These letters are an acronym for the Hebrew, נס גדול היה שם, Nes Gadol Haya Sham - A great miracle happened there (the miracle of the oil). The dreidel is used for a sort of gambling game after the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah, to keep children interested during the short time the candles are burning.
Hanukkah gelt is often given to children. The amount is usually in small coins, although grandparents or others may give larger sums as an official Hanukkah gift. In more recent times chocolate gelt has become popular. Gifts can be given so that Jewish children do not feel they are missing out on Christmas.
Wikipedia also says that in recent years, a Christmas/Hanukkah amalgum has emerged - dubbed 'Chrismukkah' - celebrated by some mixed-fatih families, particularly in the US. A decorated tree has come to be called a 'Hanukkah bush'. Other Jews (tongue-in cheek) wish each other 'happy cholidays'.
I didn't spot anything on Hannukah there but this is a good site for Christians keen to reach Jews.

1 comment:

Ellen Q-P said...

Re Channuka - on Tuesday a little boy was playing wth a top when i went to teach the children - now i know why! today a girl in golders Green said - let's go & get some doughnuts (not to me)- when they were lighting the light -and when I went to teach today, one of the children showed me her bag of pennies (I had no idea why!) so next year i can contribute to it! from Ellen.