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Jews, Christians share a celebratory week of holy days

This year Christians and Jews celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah during the same week. Hanukkah begins at sundown Sunday and Christmas is celebrated Thursday.

Each religion celebrates light.

Christians acknowledge Jesus as the light of the world according to the Gospel of John, where it is written: that John would bear witness of the light, that all might believe through Jesus.

Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, a commemoration of the time when the Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated and there was only enough oil to light the lamps for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days.

Many churches have candlelight services on Christmas Eve.

"Christmas is a time that we celebrate that the light of the world has come and it is also a time that we want to let our light shine through our love and good deeds to our neighbors and community," said the Rev. Jeff Olsen, pastor of Grace Community Church in Wesley Chapel.

Rabbi Yossi Eber of the Chabad of West Pasco said the Hanukkah lights represent light over darkness.

"We add a candle each night to light up the world to become a more godly place," he said.

The following are a listing of Hanukkah celebrations and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.

Chabad of West Pasco hosts the public menorah lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Monday at the Chelsea Place Shopping Center, 1346 Silver Springs Blvd., New Port Richey. There will be gifts for children, potato latkes and doughnuts, and music by the Mike Eisenstat Band. State Sen. Mike Fasano will take part in the ceremony. Admission is free. Call (727) 376-3366.

Chabad of East Pasco and New Tampa will celebrate at 6 p.m. Monday at the Shops at Wiregrass, State Road 56 and Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in Wesley Chapel. There will be a menorah lighting ceremony, variety show, potato latkes, Hanukkah gelt, music and crafts for kids and prizes. Admission is free. Call (813) 642-3244.

Congregation Beth Tefilah, which meets at the Jewish Community Center of West Pasco, 9841 Scenic Drive, New Port Richey, will celebrate Hanukkah beginning Sunday with the lighting of the first candle until Dec. 28, when the eighth candle is lit. Call (727) 847-3814.

Congregation B'nai Emmunah, 3374 Keystone Road, Odessa, will host Menorah Madness at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Pittard Family will perform and people should bring their menorahs, candles and latkes or a dessert. Call (727) 938-9000.

Beth-El Shalom, a Messianic congregation, 6209 Congress St. in New Port Richey, will celebrate Hanukkah with the lighting of a 10-foot menorah at 5 p.m. Dec. 27. Bring menorahs, candles. Potato latkes will be served along with dancing, games and the singing of Hanukkah songs. Call (727) 375-7502.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services:

Beacon Baptist Church, 1334 Fivay Road, Hudson, will have a 7 p.m. Christmas Eve candlelight service. Call (727) 863-2149.

Grace Community will have a Christmas Eve candlelight service at 6 p.m. at Wiregrass Ranch High School, 2909 Mansfield Blvd.,Wesley Chapel. Call (813) 994-9363.

Faith Lutheran Church, 5443 Sunset Road, New Port Richey, will have a Traditional Candlelight Carol Communion service at 11 p.m. Christmas Eve and a 10 a.m. Christmas Day Carol Communion service. Call (727) 849-4418.

Keystone Presbyterian Church and Keystone Community Church will have a combined 7 p.m. Christmas Eve service at 7509 Van Dyke Road, Odessa. Call (813) 920-8552.

Community Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, 6533 Circle Blvd., New Port Richey, will have a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. Call (727) 849-1943.

Holiday United Church of Christ, 4826 Bartelt Road, Holiday, will have a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. Call (727) 937-1520.

Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, 12321 Canton Ave, Hudson, will have a Candlelight Carol Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. and a 10 a.m. Christmas Day Communion service. Call (727) 863-6446.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 5326 Charles St., New Port Richey, will have a Solemn High Mass at 11 p.m. Christmas Eve and a Communion service at 10 a.m. Christmas Day. Call (727) 849-4330.

Atonement Lutheran Church, 2961 State Road 54, Wesley Chapel will have 7 and 11 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight open-communion services. Call (813) 843-4571.

Calvary Chapel Worship Center, 6825 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey, will have three Christmas Eve candlelight services at 4:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m. Call (727) 376-7733.

St. Mark's Presbyterian Church, 7922 State Road 52, Hudson, will have a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. Call (727) 863-5646.

Asbury United Methodist Church, 4204 Thys Road, New Port Richey, will have a 7 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Call (727) 376-6218.

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4125 U.S. 19, New Port Richey, will have a 4 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Call (727) 849-4905.

Jews, Christians share a celebratory week of holy days 12/19/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 1:12pm]
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