When the Jewish community gathered Tuesday afternoon in Springfield, Massachusetts, to mark the start of Hanukkah with a menorah lighting ceremony, one politician's remarks raised some eyebrows.
After his fellow officials spoke, Bud Williams, a city counselor, issued a jaw-dropping proclamation that has led to a fair bit of discussion and debate. He said, "Jesus is the reason for the season."
But as the Republican newspaper noted, the vast majority of Jews do not celebrate Christ's birth, which is commemorated on Christmas day each year on December 25, making the comment most certainly seem out of place.
In contrast, Hanukkah — a patently Jewish holiday — "commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt," according to History.com.
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After their victory, it is said that the Macabees found a small amount of oil to light a candelabra. While they believed they would only have enough to ignite it for one day, it is believed to have lasted for eight. The Hanukkah celebration commemorates these happenings, NECN-TV reported.
In a later interview explaining why he invoked Christ's name at the Jewish event, Williams, a Baptist, said that he didn't intend to be offensive and that he made mention of Jesus only after other participants discussed a "bright light" that emerged 2,000 years ago.
"I thought it added something to the service, it didn't take away," he told MassLive.com. "Jesus was Jewish. To me, Jesus is the messiah ... I thought I was being very positive."
It's possible that Williams assumed that the "bright light" was a reference to Christ, though it's likely that participants were alluding to the aforementioned events that are said to have unfolded in the second century B.C.
A message left for Williams was not immediately returned to TheBlaze.
(H/T: The Republican)
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