Christians Start Advent Sunday, While Jews Start Hanukkah December 8, Amid Season’s Shopping, Stress
By Lawrence M. Ventline, D. Min.
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Or, Season’s Greetings!
Amid shopping and stress, the faithful will hear those words in malls, and more, while Jews usher in Hanukkah Dec. 8, their “feast of lights,” or, re-dedication of the temple, eight holy days through Dec. 16.
Meanwhile, Advent, meaning, “coming,” starts Sunday, December 2 at the National Shrine of the Little Flower on Woodward Avenue at Twelve Mile Road in Royal Oak. Christian sanctuaries will be adorned with an evergreen wreathe with three purple candles and a pink one embedded in a circular symbol for the liturgical season. Candles commemorate each of the four Sundays before Christmas. Hope, a strength, or virtue is the focus of the twenty-three days of preparation.
Yet, disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder, lack of light, or, sun bring on feelings of hopelessness, depression, or suicide, psychiatrists warn.
Grieving, also, is part of the season for some, counselors claim. Take, for example, Jo Dare of Royal Oak. After forty years of worshiping as a member of St. Dennis Church at 12 Mile and Stephenson, the 62-year old parish permanently closed its doors last Sunday.
“I always found it a wonderful place to worship,” added Dare. “During Father John Christ’s years as pastor, we worked to follow Jesus’ command to reach out to the poor of our community. I will miss the community dearly,” concluded Dare. She has ties to Focus:HOPE in Detroit.
Christians, among others, are waiting for light, and, for the spring, church leaders said. Jews, among others, observe numerous festivals of light.
A retired rabbi of Berkley, Mordehai Waldman, said “the 150 psalms of King David of the Hebrew scriptures helped enlighten me when I had terminal cancer 20 years ago.” “Psalms revive the mind and the soul for healing — the spiritual heart of the body — the “neshama,” in Hebrew, concluded Waldman. “I can’t forget to get out my Menorah lights,” said Waldman. “And, other religious items for Hanukkah,” Waldman added.
An ordained monk and “dharma” teacher, Venerable Bup Mee, of Royal Oak, agrees.
“The stress we feel is a product of our own thoughts and mind,” he said. “Fortunately, there are simple and effective methods we can utilize to reduce our stress. The first thing we can do is to accept our stress and learn to be with it,” added Bup Mee.
Multiple spiritual services for Advent are scheduled at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish. For more information, call the church office at (248)