In the spirit of the holidays, I’ve written stories about Christmas and what it means to my family. I’d like to share with you a sweet family Hanukkah story.

My nephew, John, his lovely wife, Debbie, and adorable children, Emily and Derek, live in California. John is Christian and Debbie is Jewish; they are quietly introducing the children to the traditions and customs of their individual faiths.

What a pleasant surprise when we viewed a number of Facebook pictures of a Hanukkah celebration at their home. There was our golden-haired Emmy lighting a candle on the menorah with Derek looking on—his orange yarmulke was tilted at a rakish angle; he’s all boy! Not to be outdone, Emmy wore a pink yarmulke so she could share in this part of the celebration!

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We saw photos of the menorah, special cookies and gifts and these beautiful children. I was impressed with the serious and intent expressions on their precious faces: This was an important and awesome occasion and they were fully absorbing the experience, as children will often do.

Debbie wrote that after their celebration came to a close, Emmy exclaimed: “This was the best Hanukkah ever!”

John, Debbie and the children are now gearing up for Christmas, another teaching holiday in my book. In my heart, I see these teachings and traditions as a small but vital step toward peace and understanding in this fractured world. Let the children lead us…

“Chag Sameach and Merry Christmas! God bless you and Shalom!”

Ruthann Scheffer can be reached at