December is a Month of Giving and Remembering
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day falls on December 7 which is a Wednesday in 2011. This is the date in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii, and we entered WWII. The traditional way to honor our heroes and the 2,235 service men and 68 civilians who lost their lives that day is to fly the flag at half staff until sunset. If you've ever wondered if any women were involved on that day, the answer is, yes. Military doctors and nurses were completely overwhelmed by the devastation and tragedy of the day, working under a great deal of pressure during the aftermath of the morning's raid. First Lt. Annie G. Fox was the first of many Army nurses who received a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. After the devastating attacks on Pearl Harbor which nearly destroyed the Pacific fleet, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, "We are going to win the war and we are going to win the peace that follows."
December 21 is Hanukkah which is an eight-day Jewish celebration of the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, also known as the festival of lights, when prayers of praise and thanksgiving are offered. The holiday actually begins on the evening of the day before, or on December 20. It is a custom on the first day to light one candle and each night thereafter one more candle is lit as a reminder that "we increase in sanctity but do not reduce."
December 21 in 2011 is also the First Day of Winter which is the Winter Solstice or the shortest day of the year. Up until that day the days keep getting shorter and shorter but after the twenty-first, the days again begin to grow longer. This means that we get progressively more sunlight every day after until the Summer Solstice which is the longest day of the year. It is kind of interesting that the Jewish festival of increasing lights and the increase in sunlight coincide so closely.
In the United States, the December holidays are almost completely overwhelmed by Christmas which is a Christian day set aside to shower our friends and family with gifts in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. Even though we love the presents, the sweets, and the Santa Claus stories let us not get distracted by the material "jollies" so much that we forget the reason for the season is Jesus Christ. The best way to do that is by attending church which should be easy this year because December 25 comes on a Sunday this year.
Ever wonder what "Boxing Day" is? This is a holiday celebrated in Canada and other countries of the United Kingdom which always falls on December 26, the day after Christmas. It is traditional on this day to give a box of food or gifts to anyone who has worked hard for you all throughout the year. It is also traditional that both churches and businesses place coin collection boxes about to be used for gifts on that day.
Here's wishing you
Merry Christmas / Happy Hannukkah
from all the folks at Precision Lawn Care!
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!
- Hamilton Wright Mabie