Bethel celebrated a truly healing ceremony on December 22nd when hundreds of residents joined long-time resident Bill Hillman for the lighting of the Town's first menorah on P.T. Barnum Square, along with a celebration of the Winter Solstice, all while in the glow of the Town's Nativity.
Given the bitter battle fought over the atheist display, and the threat of a satanic group's effort to drive the Nativity off the Town green, the outpouring of love by so many local residents of so many faiths was nothing short of a modern miracle.
Bethel is blessed with thousands of deeply caring, generous citizens. Hundreds of them came out to share a moment celebrating the unity of our Town, brought together by the desire of Mr. Hillman to share his religious tradition with the Town and to recognize the other celebrations of faith as well.
For a wonderous moment, the Town square was filled with Christians, Jews, Budists, Hindis, Pagans and others all coming together to share a unified message of faith. Hanukkah is a celebration of a "minor" miracle more than 2,300 years ago when during the Maccabean Revolt against the Greek-Syrian occupation, Jews rededicating the Second Temple had just enough lamp oil to last one day, yet instead the lamp stayed lit for eight days.
It was fitting to have the start of the celebration of religious freedom that Hanukkah represents coincide with the start of the Winter Solstice celebration just three days from the celebration of the miracle of Christ's birth -- all together on the Town of Bethel's public square.
We hope, and pray, that this is the start of a Town-wide focus on those things that bring us together.