I know someone who is not religious but who has become increasingly more interested in Jewish practices. This woman was aware that Chanuka was approaching but did not know when exactly it was. She wanted to have a Chanuka experience with her two-year-old daughter, so she looked online and accidentally searched for "Chanuka 2009" instead of 2008, so she was told December 11 (I guess Chanuka is December 11 next year, guys!). Horrified and astounded that she had missed it entirely, she quickly gathered her daughter, they lit the menorah together for all eight nights, and her daughter opened every single one of her presents at once. It was sort of like Chanuka on hyper-speed.
Only afterward did she discover that it was not yet, in fact, Chanuka. Not in the year 2008. :)
Relieved, she and her daughter started over on the real date of Chanuka, this time able to do it properly.
This story really, really touched me. The eagerness of this person to involve herself and her daughter in a Jewish practice - and the overall excitement this person has towards Judaism in general - is indicative of a desire to get closer to some sort of heritage and people they are a part of. And that's because, despite all our differences, Jews are a family. We share forefathers and mothers.* I hope, deep down, we all want to be together and share in our religion, even if it doesn't always seem like it. We're all a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, so we should want that.
Anyhow, I am so glad this woman and her daughter did not miss Chanuka after all.
Chag sameach to everyone who reads this blog!
*As an aside, when I was younger, I used to wonder why it wasn't the foremothers and three-fathers. :)