Hannukah is about many things. The story is about a tiny amount of oil that burned for eight days instead of only one. It’s about the unexpected victory of a small army over one much more powerful. It’s about finding freedom in a time of oppression. And it’s about our ability to accomplish heroic things even when we think of ourselves as anything but heroic.
In each case, the story is about discovering and experiencing something wonderfully unexpected–what we might call a miracle. And the in each case Hanukkah invites us to find the miraculous in our own lives even if we don’t exactly believes in miracles or think that they can happen for us if we do.
Here are eight tips for finding miracles in your own life, and for helping others to find miracles in theirs:
1. Define Miracle. After all, we cannot find that for which we are not looking–and miracles are not always supernatural. According to the Midrash, the bush from which God called to Moses had been burning forever. The miracle was not that a bush caught fire and remained intact, it was that Moses noticed. What’s your definition of a miracle?
2. Look closely. We have all been raised on stories of parting seas, resurrection of the dead etc. What is the “smallest” miracle you can identify in your own life? Why is it really something very big?
3. Tell miracle stories. Where have you witnessed miracles, as defined by you, happening for other people? What do you think made those miracles possible for them?
4. Dare to hope. Hoping for miracles can empower us by reconnecting us to what it is we really most desire. For what miracles are you hoping in your own life?
5. Make a list. What qualities do you possess that make you worthy of a miracle? Even if that hoped-for miracle never comes, it’s amazing how unexpectedly wonderful things can happen when we recall how worthy we are.
6. Invest in making a miracle. Over and over again, Hanukkah stories are about miracles that follow human action. Where can you start the process, which might unleash a miracle in your own life?
7. Discover your inner light. Like the little bit of oil that burned longer than anyone expected, each of us has abilities, talents, and capacities, which are little known or under-utilized. What are yours and how could they be used to accomplish a miracle for someone else?
8. Celebrate. If it matters to you, make the most of it. A central feature of lighting the Hanukkah menorah (hanukkiah) is that it brings people together in celebration of the miracles that matter most to them. Finding joy in what is, helps unlock our ability to locate the miracles we still need.