Double blessings today. Blessings upon American friends celebrating Thanksgiving and blessings too on Jewish friends celebrating Hanukkah. It is very unusual for the two holidays to coincide. The last time was in 1888. The next time will be in 70000 years. (I know, that does seem incredible but calendars are calendars).

I was in the States last year for Thanksgiving. It is a slightly odd festival to observe as a single non-American to whom the feast has little meaning. For me it meant thinking very carefully about how I was travelling at that time as so many Americans try to fly around the country that airports are very busy, often at a time when weather is tricky. In the end I settled on spending Thanksgiving on an island in Florida and hired a bike to explore a wildlife park for alligators and other extraordinary things and sat on the beach looking at snowy egrets and pelicans.

The thing that really surprised me was going to church on Thanksgiving morning and discovering that it was a harvest festival. Somehow I hadn’t made the connection at all.

As for Hanukkah, we had readings from the first book of the Maccabees last week at Daily Prayer in the Scottish Episcopal Church. So the swashbuckling exploits of Judas Maccabeus are fairly fresh in my mind. We only get anything from Maccabees once in the two year cycle of the readings at Daily Prayer. Always make me realise that there is so much from Jewish history that I don’t know that much about.

Anyway, to everyone celebrating today, many blessings.

And yes, it really is 70000 years until these two festivals will co-incide again.