For those of us cast out of our faith communities, jobs, or families for our LGBTQIA identities, a queering of the liturgical calendar - from Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20 and World AIDS Day on December 1 through Rainbow Bridge on New Years Day — allows us to redefine everything in between: Together, we can reclaim our faith and practices (whatever they may be) even as they are actively being desecrated by those who attempt to colonize our faith with hatred, preaching their narrow-minded judgment and casting people like us out of our own rightful places of worship - even threatening our deaths as their way of celebrating Christmas. In candlelit celebrations of Hanukkah and Advent (both of which commemorate resistance to Empire), the use of rainbow colors becomes a coup d’état, a queer refusal to be marginalized in our own faiths, a celebration of diversity and inclusion from WITHIN a place of faith!
Hanukkah especially is a season to celebrate not only faith and hope in God’s continued lighting of the world but also in turn to practice “tikun olam” (Hebrew for healing / repairing the world). Connecting this practice with Hanukkah (the commemoration of an eight-day resistance to colonial invasion through renewal of authentic worship) helps us focus on causes that support free speech and religious freedom. Though I happen to be a Christian, I celebrate the refreshing contrast of this Jewish practice especially at this time of year, when narrow-minded bigots in my own faith tradition conduct an imperialistic attack of their own, insist that all people (even those who don’t share their beliefs) must celebrate their particular winter holiday - and in THEIR way using THEIR preferred terminology for it. My own wider family includes a wide range of faith, gender, race, national, and sexual orientation identities: Our Hannukah’s rainbow candles and the rainbow-colored dreidls we play with are a way to teach my children in an interfaith way tikun olam (healing or repairing the world) with God’s light, talking as a family about what we believe in, what it means to stand up for those beliefs (in the spirit of those who reclaimed and restored the Temple desecrated by colonializing imperialists in the events commemorated in this holiday).