My extended family is a great joy to me. My maternal grandfather was half black, my paternal grandmother full Croatian, my husband half German-Austrian-Russian Jew and my children… the most beautiful mixture of All Things Wondrous!
Fusing all these various cultures and traditions became a life long journey of discovery for us as a family, culminating in my desire to help my children celebrate their Jewish heritage by celebrating the festivals in the Jewish traditions, in our own “Heiss Way”.
As Christ followers, knowing that Jesus grew up celebrating all the wondrous holidays all year long, became a joyful experience for us too, especially Hanukkah… the Festival of Lights!
Lighting Great-Grandma Heiss’s menorah, gathering around with friends and family, praying and singing together in our own tradition, preparing and eating the yummy traditional Hanukkah food became a part of our Advent and Christmas season, along with going to Kwanza gatherings with dear African American friends. This year, we will joyously light the menorah, now residing in our daughter’s home, for the first time, with our first grandchild Rhodes Wilder looking on in wonder, just like his mama Adriel and his Uncle Jacob did.
Inviting others to share in the beauty of loving well, celebrating life together, bringing comfort and joy to others with our words, actions, prayers and creative endeavors, is the call of Christ in our lives.
To walk in the Light, is a beautiful expression of Christ’s reminder to me, to all of us, to Be The Light! Jesus said that he is the Light of the world, but then also reminds us that we are the light of the world as well! How can that be?
If his love dwells in us, then his love can shine through us, to all the waiting world!
This holiday season, even as I write this, on the most holy of days in the Jewish tradition of Yom Kippur, I invite you to sing on, in all love, in all peace, in all welcome, comfort and joy, shine and sing on, knowing that you are loved and treasured beyond measure, by the One who created you to be a reflection of His glory.
– Laurel Heverly Heiss
Laurel is a singer, songwriter, mentor, teacher, wife, mother, and birth/labor coach, church planter, actress, dancer, writer, producer, crew member at Trader Joe’s Nashville, and founder of “Finding Hope,” a Skype-based counseling/life coach/mentoring program. As a follower of the teachings of Christ, Laurel has made it her life goal to welcome, encourage and walk alongside others on the journey of discovering lasting hope, speaking truth in love, celebrating the wonders of life, love and JOY of living, in working together on this amazing planet of ours with grateful and peaceful hearts.