Third Day of Chanukah

The significance of the "lights" in Chanukah is...

It would be in the second century B.C. that the story of Judas Maccabee and a small force of Jews faced off against the occupying Syrian-Greeks who were attempting to force the people of Israel to accept the Greek culture and gods. The Greeks wanted the Israelis to give up the mitzvah and their belief in the One, True, God (Kahana, 2019).

In the village of Modiin the priest Mattityahu lived, when the Greeks erected an altar and demanded he offer a sacrifice to their gods, Mattityahu refused. When the Greek commander brought up a Hellenist priest, Mattityahu drew his sword and killed the false priest. His sons and friends then rushed the Greeks, chasing them off and killing several more (1 Mac 2:23-25). So began the revolt of the Maccabees (Mindel, 1965). Judas Maccabee, son of Mattityahu, led the revolt – but knowing the Greeks would come back seeking revenge, they hid in the mountains from which they conducted their attacks.

It would take three years for Judas Maccabee and his small force to chase the far superior Greek armies from the Holy Land. To accomplish this, they used guerilla warfare, attacking the Greeks at night and their only weapons were pitchforks and swords (Brewer, 2021). When the Maccabees liberated and cleared the temple of idols and when they went to light the menorah, there was only one cruse of blessed olive oil, sealed by the High Priest, Yochanan – only enough for one day and the process for blessing new oil takes 8 days. They lit the lamp and began the preparation of new oil – and the one lamp stayed lit for the entire eight days! (Mindel, 1965).

The scriptural reference for this account is found in 1 Maccabees 2-3.

The Jewish people were fighting for their very identity, Had the Syrian-Greeks prevailed, Jewish culture would have been obliterated. This renewal of the Jewish faith allows for their culture to prevail and lays the path for Jesus to be born a Jew, live as a Jew, and die as a Jew. In a sense, Christmas owes a debt to Chanukah! Certainly, had the Jews been defeated, God would have used a different means to bring the Messiah into the world – but He did not have to, because God allowed the Maccabees to be victorious some 200 years before Jesus was born.


Brewer, D. (2021). Hankukkah, The Festival of Lights. Life in Messiah.

Kahana, Y. (2019). What is Chanukah? A reminder that light can transform darkness. Jewish National Fund.

Mindel, N. (1965). Complete Story of Chanukah.

Second Day of Chanukah


Chanukah Day 2!

What is the significance of the "lights" in this season?  Answer in Day 3!

First Day of Chanukah

 ... Or is it Hanukkah?

The truth be told - it is neither - or either! From the website:

The first consonant, the ח, is pronounced as /x/ in Ashkenazic tradition. This phoneme, which sounds like someone clearing his throat of phlegm, does not exist in standard English.

Therefore, in English - either works, also on the Chabad website, we are told that "Ashkenazic Jews, however, traditionally favor 'Chanukah'" - similar to the reason this site is "Chabad" and not "Habad."

So, Happy Chanukah - or Happy Hanukkah - on what is also for Christians, the First Day of Advent!

Happy New Year!

Today is New Year's Day 

Liturgically speaking, that is! The start of the Advent Season marks the start of the liturgical new year - so HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Not Christmas Yet!

This is NOT the start of the Christmas Season! This is Advent! Consider wishing friends and family a "Blessed Advent" for the next four weeks - the Christmas Season starts with the Christ Mass (hence the name of the season!) and lasts MINIMALLY through January 5th, as January 6th starts Epiphany (December 25-January 5 also marks the Twelve Days of Christmas) - HOWEVER - traditionally it is still "Christmastide" through Candlemas, which is February 2nd. So, in actuality, it is still proper to wish others a "Merry Christmas" from December 25th through February 2nd! Some may give you a funny look - but consider using this! You can use it as an ice-breaker to start in a conversation to witness the Faith and the traditions of the Church when they ask you why you would wish them a Merry Christmas after December 25th.

Advent Traditions:

Celebrating Advent through the use of the Advent Wreath: 

The O Antiphons

Starting December 17 through Christ Mass Eve - consider a tradition of a "Jesse Tree" and hang ornaments for each of the O Antiphons. You all know these from the traditional hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" which the verses go through the O Antiphons. Click here for more info on the O Antiphons!

Please SHARE!

Please share this blog (use one or more of the links below for different social media) with others AND add a comment of what your Advent tradition(s) entail!



Scripture of the Week 11-28-21

This past week marks the passing of my mother, along with my wife and I celebrating our 40th anniversary, so I will include some other passages too:

From my wife:

Today's bible verse is: "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts" (Colossians 3:16, NIV).

My reflection:

We have been listening to Psalms as we go to sleep all week, actually since just before Mom passed. this has been such a blessing to us. Some psalms are rejoicing, some are in humility, some are in recognition of failure to follow the Lord, and all of them end up praising and acknowledging our God. 

This week my wife and I also recognized our 40th wedding anniversary (on the 27th), which we plan to do a "celebration" of which just before Christmas. The listening to the Psalms has been very enlightening and encouraging during this past week. Let Christ dwell among us richly for the next stage in our lives - not sure that I would make it for another 40 years (I'd be over 100 by then!), but, Lord willing, we will be around for as long as He has plans for us here. If He wants me here until our third Ruby anniversary (the second one is the 52nd anniversary), then we would celebrate our Ruby Jubilee Anniversary on Nov. 27, 2061. 

From my professor:

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." - 1 Chronicles 16:34

My reflection:

Amen, Professor! "Forever" takes on that whole other dimension when thinking about the eternity my mother just entered. His love does endure forever and we have left our mom in His Hands. Her last spoken words were, "Yes Lord, yes Lord, thank you, Jesus." 

To anyone reading this, if you are in the Phoenix area and wish to come to her celebration of life at the First United Methodist Church in Glendale, Dec. 13th (Monday) at 11am. Click here for more details.

Happy New Year!

Today also marks the liturgical new year, I will make a separate entry for that.

Janice Antes-Windsor - RIP


I have not been as active online this week (school is suffering too), but Monday, 11/22/21, my mother entered into eternity.

If you knew her and/or would like to be at her Celebration of Life:

You are invited to the memorial. (Please click on the link and indicate you are coming).

Here is a rough draft of the obituary we are working on:

Janice Vera Antes

August 16, 1939 - November 22, 2021

"Come to her assistance, all ye Saints of God; meet her, all ye Angels of God; receiving her soul, offering it in the sight of the Most High. May Christ receive thee, who hath called thee, and may the Angels conduct thee to Abraham's bosom. Receiving her soul and offering it in the sight of the Most High. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord; and let your perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, requiescat in pacem (RIP)."

(from an ancient liturgy; Prayers After Death)

 Janice was born in Antigo, WI to Alvah (Russ) and Verna (Hanneman) Antes, where she spent her younger years. The family moved to Louisville, KY where she graduated from Southern High School. It was here she met Richard (Dick) Windsor who was stationed at Fort Knox (Army). They moved to Phoenix, AZ and on July 1, 1958 they were married in the First United Methodist Church in Glendale, AZ.

Janice was the co-founder and co-owner of Windsor Gymnastics in Glendale, the first President of the Arizona Women's Gymnastics Association (AWGA), and a registered gymnastics judge. With her husband, AWGA Hall of Famer (Dick Windsor), they moved their family to Prescott in 1982 to develop the gymnastics program at the YMCA. Concurrently with her YMCA years, she was a scholar from #YavapaiCollege and #NAU with a Masters in English. She also worked for Yavapai College in the Learning Center, helping countless students in adult literacy. Her retirement was blessed in reflective writing and being a grandmother to 17 and a great-grandmother to 20! She is preceded in death by her parents (Russ and Verna), husband (Dick), brother (Jeron), sisters (Joyce & Vicky), and grandchildren (Julianne Windsor & Jeremy Linnertz). She is survived by her dear friend, Randy Robinson, and her 6 children, Scott Windsor Sr, David Windsor, Wendy Windsor, Douglas Windsor, Gianna Ekstrom, & William Windsor.

God-fearing to the end, her last words were: "Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Thank you, Jesus."

Memorial: First United Methodist Church, 7102 N. 58th Dr., Glendale, AZ 85301 - Monday, December 13, 2021 at 11am. Reception to follow.



Scripture of the Week


From my professor:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Personal Reflection:

After a one week break from coursework, we're back! I am hopeful of the process we are going through and that I might be filled to overflowing joy and peace of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Reflections I summarize from my priest last Sunday:

So, by the extraordinary lectionary, last week was the 24th Sunday after Pentecost - and I learned something new that I had not realized in the past. During the "extra weeks" after the 24th Sunday, which happens when Easter comes earlier, we use the readings from the last weeks after Epiphany. I never really thought about it, I just figured we were filling in by repeating Epiphany season readings. However, the reason we use those readings at the end of the Epiphany season is due to the fact that an early Easter, means the seasons of Lent and Septuagesima start earlier too. Well, the number of weeks in the liturgical year does not change, therefore we never read those readings this year, once Septuagesima season began! Those readings we "miss" after Epiphany are tacked on at the end of the weeks after Pentecost! We haven't really "missed" anything when all is said and done for the liturgical year!

With the modern lectionary, one does not notice this fact because they refer to this "ordinal" or "counting" time after Epiphany and Pentecost as one group of readings, which makes it actually a bit of a simpler seasonal remembering. I, however, have come to a deeper and better understanding of the seasons of Epiphany and Pentecost and truly appreciate that we count from those feast days. The modern view calls this single, but split, season as "Ordinary Time." Those who have followed me for a while know that I object to that title. Technically, it is accurate as "ordinary" is related to "ordinal" which means "counting." The problem I have with calling it "Ordinary Time" is that it is ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY! There are so many extraordinary feasts and solemnities during these "counting weeks!" A casual observer may leave feeling that this "ordinary time" is just a filler between Christmas/Epiphany and Lent/Easter for the first part of Ordinal Time, and between Pentecost and Advent for the second part. We have so much more we can share and emphasize during these counting seasons! See my other posts on Ordinal Time.

AMDG, Scott<<<


Scripture of the Week - 24th Sunday After Pentecost


Matthew 13:24-30

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat

24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Personal Reflection:

As we go through our daily walk, trying to do our best, we often run into trials or troubles. Why could God not take away these hard times? Because we grow and learn from these trials. Because others seeing how we deal with these troubles can be inspired by how we handle the situations. By the same token, if we handle the troubles poorly, others, who know we follow Christ, can be pushed away from following the Truth. We need to walk in the path of our Lord - always - and turn to Him when we feel the pressures of the world and sin. We can rejoice in our sufferings because when we unite our sufferings to those of Jesus Christ on the Cross not only will we be blessed for this - but others who witness our faith may also be blessed.



Advent 2021 Nov 28th

Can you believe it? Advent is almost here! 2021 seems like a blur of 2020 with all the COVID issues across the globe - and sadly - it is still with us. I work in a hospital in north-central Arizona and while we are not seeing numbers of COVID hospitalizations over 200 (like we did in January-February of 2020) and it has been as low as getting into the 20s - this week we are back over 50 hospitalizations - and that doesn't count the cases being treated at home. But here we are again, approaching the Advent Season and the end of the liturgical year - the First Sunday in Advent marking the Liturgical New Year.

I like to remind everyone that Advent Season is NOT the Christmas Season too. Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation - even a time of penance - as we get ready for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Rather than waiting for Advent to begin this year, I thought I would start the discussion of various Advent traditions - and ask what YOU do with your family for Advent - so please comment below! 

Do you use an Advent wreath? Does yours have 4 or 5 candles? Do you go with the traditional 3 purple and 1 pink - and if 5, the 1 white candles?

How about Advent Calendars?

Or do you do the O Antiphons?

Please share your Advent traditions!

And remember, from the First Sunday of Advent (November 28th, this year) through Christmas Eve - the season is Advent - NOT - Christmas! Consider wishing friends and relatives a "Blessed Advent" in response to "Merry Christmas" this year! It can be an ice-breaker to get into a discussion of what the REAL meaning of Christmas and the Christ Mass. More to follow!

All Saints Day

 Today is All Saints Day!

Another name for today is All Hallows Day - which is where we get the turn "Halloween" for the "Eve of All Hallows Day."

One of the earliest mentionings of this solemnity (feast day) comes to us from St. Ephrim the Syrian from a sermon of his in 373 AD. 

The date of November 1st was made official by Pope Gregory III as a holy day in Rome - and was extended to the whole Church by Pope Gregory IV.

All Hallows Eve - or Halloween - is October 31st. This is a secular celebration.

All Hallows Day - or All Saints Day - is November 1st. This is a holy day of obligation. We celebrate all the saints who are in Heaven.

All Souls Day - is November 2nd. This day is not a holy day of obligation, but is a Catholic day for remembering and praying for those souls who have gone before us and may still be in Purgatory.


Richert, Scott P. (2020, August 27). All Saints Day. Retrieved from

Feast of the Assumption

 The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - another example of "not-so-ordinary" days! These are COUNTING days - and...