First off, some comments on my holiday, Chanukah, which starts tonight. (Actually, it just started, since it's dark out now.) Contrary to what some members of the press (and their lackeys in Congress) would have you believe, Chanukah is not the Jewish version of Christmas. It does not celebrate anybody's birth, divine or otherwise, it is not a "season" for anything (although it is always a good idea to be nice to one another, regardless of the time of year.)
Chanukah is, in actuality, an annual commemoration of the conclusion of an historic war. A war where an invading nation (a group of Greek-influenced Syrians) had taken over the Jewish nation and a small rebellion was successful in driving them out and rededicating the Holy Temple to the worship of God.
The theme is quite appropriate for this day and age. Today, Jews are once again under attack from outside forces. Missionary organizations run extensive campaigns to try and convert Jews to the worship of other religions, atheist movements seek to obliterate all public expression of religion, and many groups seek to murder Jews worldwide, both in Israel and elsewhere.
What better symbol of hope can the Jewish people have than the celebration of Chanukah, where Jews remember how they were able to throw off the yoke of oppression and worship God properly and without fear. The Menorah is a symbol of the fact God helped us through our war then, and will help us through our (mostly spiritual, fortunately) war today.
But that's not the only purpose for my writing here. I also want to wish all of my readers a Happy New Year.
2005 has been a year of both good and bad news. The war against terrorism (including Iraq and Afghanistan) continues, and many good men have lost their lives fighting it, but we are closer to victory than we were at this time last year. Iraq has a new government, and terrorists seem to be attacking out of desperation instead of out of careful planning. With any luck, this trend will continue in 2006, as the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq get more stable and the terrorist are reduced even further.
On the personal front, 2005 has similarly been a bag of mixed blessings. I had a wonderful relationship for most of the year, but ended up choosing to break it off shortly after Thanksgiving (for reasons that I won't go into here.) My company was acquired by another, larger company, but I'm optimistic about my future with my new employer. There were some deaths among my friends' families, but also several births, in one case to the same family.
Finally, I'd just like to say "thank you" to everybody who reads this blog, whether I know who you are or not. I write these messages so that others may read them. Which brings me to my last point. If you are reading this message, please post a comment. Although it is generally considered bad form to post a comment when you have nothing to say, I'm asking you to post something here anyway, even if it is simply to say "I'm a reader". This will give me a feel for how many people actually read my words.
Once again, have a Happy Chanukah, a Merry Christmas, Smiling Solstice, and a Happy New Year. And may 2006 be better than 2005 was.