The city of Springfield (Massachusetts) held it’s annual menorah-lighting ceremony to mark the first day of Hanukkah this past Tuesday. Among the 150 attendees was Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams.
While Williams is a Baptist, he decided to offer his own reflections on the Jewish holiday:
Jesus is the reason for the season.
Now, you might think this was bizarrely out of place at a celebration for the Jewish Festival of Lights. And you’d be right.
Williams, at any rate, thought it was all pretty reasonable and well done.
To be fair to Williams, it seems the gaffe came less from a desire to offend than a complete ignorance of the celebration he was attending. The councilor heard ceremony participants speak of a “bright light” that occurred 2,000 years ago. In his mind, this was a reference to Jesus, of the Christian faith, not a reference to the Jewish story of one day’s menorah oil miraculously lasting eight days and nights.
“Jesus was Jewish,” Williams said. “To me, Jesus is the messiah … I thought I was being very positive.”
It only follows, then, that comments about his Jewish messiah would be well-received, right?
Only in his mind.
I thought it added something to the service, it didn’t take away.
I’m guessing “comedic value” wasn’t what he was going for, though.