Oh Holy Hanukkah: A Celebration with Jesus, Mary & Joseph
After their stay in Egypt, Mary and Joseph were happy to return home with their little boy, Jesus, to Galilee. There, in their little home by the sea, they prepared to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. Joseph carefully placed the menorah he had carved in the center of the table, and guided Jesus’ hand as the boy lit the first candle. The room glowed as, together, the family sang the blessings for the special holiday.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Since Mary was now busy frying latkes, the potato pancakes that are special to Hanukkah, little Jesus ran with his father to open it. There on the doorstep stood a little lamb.
“Remember me?” asked the little lamb.
“Remember you?” cried Mary, rushing to embrace the lamb. “You snuggled up and warmed my feet as I cradled my baby in Bethlehem!”
“I have brought Jesus some mittens, knit from my wool”
“Oh, how kind you are! Thank you!” said Mary, as Jesus, speechless with amazement put on the soft and beautifully-designed mittens. “Now, let’s get you a plate so you can join us.”
As the candle continued to burn, the family and their guest stuffed themselves with latkes, played dreidel and sang songs. When the candle was finally extinguished, Joseph turned to the lamb: “Please come back tomorrow, and invite our other friends from the stable to join you!”
The next night, as the sun was setting, there was a knock at the door. This time, the lamb had brought the cow, who gently mooed to Mary, “Remember me?”
“Remember you?” exclaimed Mary, rushing to embrace the cow. “You gave me some of your calf’s milk to drink, so that I would be able to nurse my own baby.”
“I have brought you sour cream for the latkes,” said the cow.
“Come in! Come in!” Joseph welcomed them, as Jesus carefully laid another place at the table.
“You are just in time to light the second candle!” said Jesus.
On the third night of Hanukkah, the Ox came, too. As they watched the candles burn, the Ox offered to help Joseph plow the fields in the spring, to grow more potatoes for next year’s latkes.
On the fourth night of Hanukkah, the hen came along, too. “I thought you might need more eggs for your delicious latkes,” she said shyly, handing Mary a basket. Everyone ooh’ed and aah’ed at the beautiful araucana eggs, which were not only white but also pale green and light blue.
On the fifth night of Hanukkah, three shepherds came, bringing cheesecake for dessert, as well as their friend, the goatherd. The goatherd had brought some chevre, and taught Jesus to yodel as they all danced the horah to the light of the candles.
On the sixth night of Hanukkah, a choir of angels arrived, their heavenly voices making the joyful Hanukkah songs even more beautiful.
On the seventh night of Hanukkah, three magi arrived with gifts for all, including chocolate, lots of Hanukkah gelt, and special perfume for Mary.
“Please come back tomorrow,” said Mary to all their guests.
“Yes,” said Joseph. “Do come: it will be the 8th night of Hanukkah and all the candles will be lit.”
“And it’s my birthday!” shouted little Jesus.
Everyone was having such a good time -- singing, dancing, playing dreidel, and, of course, stuffing themselves with delicious potato latkes -- that they all agreed to come back.
On the eighth night of Hanukkah, the little house was bursting at the seams, as all the guests tried spinning the lovely new dreidels that Joseph had carved as gifts for each of them.
Mary was welcoming as always, but, secretly, she was anxious. They had sour cream, eggs, cheesecake, and even chevre, but there was only one potato left. Would she have enough to feed all the guests?
After first grating the sole potato, Mary added grated onion, egg, a little matzah meal, salt, and pepper. Then she spooned the batter in the sizzling oil. Watching the latkes to ensure they browned evenly, she fretted: eight crispy latkes were frying in the old cast iron pan, but there was only enough batter left for one more latke.
She removed the latkes from the pan and placed them to drain on paper towels. Then, with a sigh and a determined face, she turned back to the remaining batter.
The bowl was now full. She shook her head, and spooned eight more latkes into the frying pan.
The bowl was still full.
Mary again removed the crispy latkes from the pan, and spooned eight more into the hot oil.
The bowl was still full.
Mary dropped her spatula in amazement.
Startled by the sound, all the guests turned and looked toward the stove.
“Mary,” said the lamb. “It’s Jesus’ birthday and it’s Hanukkah. You should not spend the whole evening frying latkes for the party.”
“Yes,” affirmed the goatherd. “I can fry some latkes.”
“We can too!” cried all three magi.
“Yes, we can all fry latkes!” shouted the hen and the shepherds. Even the ox and the cow wanted a turn.
As each guest took a turn frying tasty latkes, the pan was never empty.
So while the candles burned and the heavenly host led a chorus of “Happy Birthday,” quickly followed by “Maoz Tzur” and “I had a little dreidel,” Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all their friends played dreidel, danced the hora, and stuffed themselves with delicious potato latkes.
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