The story took place in a nearby state where a suburban cul de sac had been festively decorated with shepherds, angels and wise men all gathered around a manger.
Every home on the circle offered a variation of that timeless tableau, except for one that had an illuminated menorah shining through its front window.
Around 3 in the morning a loud crashing sound could be heard, but it wasn’t until the light of dawn that Lisa, 37, looked across the street and saw the smashed picture window and the damaged menorah that had been hauled across the lawn and discarded.
Moments later she watched her neighbor nailing plywood over the opening before ushering his family into its car and driving off.
They were the only Jewish family on that street and their matriarch was a survivor of Auschwitz, the unspeakable Nazi concentration camp, which made having a secure home all the more meaningful. “We’re Catholics,” Lisa said, “But I knew the menorah represented a miracle by our God before our faith was known as Christianity. I knew of the king who told the Jews they couldn’t practice their religion, and of the freedom fighters who defeated his entire army, how they wanted to reconsecrate the temple that had been desecrated but found enough oil for only one night. They used it anyway and it burned for the needed eight nights.
“That was a miracle from the same God we worship.”
Lisa was quickly on her phone, calling one, then two, then a group of neighbors, and soon they were dispatched to box stores and specialty shops throughout the region until, one by one, they returned. It was dark when the vandalized family turned onto the entrance to the cul de sac. Just ahead a brilliant glow lit up the sky, and then they saw why. All Christmas decorations were dark, replaced in front of every home by an illuminated menorah.
“I had tears in my eyes,” the wife of the returning homeowner said. “It was so touching. They even bought one for us.”
More than a tender story, it’s an instructive story, too, a reminder that God who made that oil last was the God of the manger, too, making it an inclusive holiday that can’t be told enough.
- Thanks to Joe Fitzgerald, Boston Herald