Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe,
who wrought miracles for our fathers
in days of old, at this season.

Tonight is the first night to light the first candle of Hanukkah.

The first night to remember those that stood up for righteousness in exchange for their lives.

The first night to, once again, remember who we are and Who we serve.

The first night to join with family and friends to enjoy each others company.

The first night to remember all the other years we were blessed to celebrate Hanukkah.

The first night to say the Hanukkah blessings and to thank HaShem for bringing us to this time once again.

But this first night will be like no other first night for me.

This will be the first night of Hanukkah that I'm not rushing around, getting things prepared for a community celebration.

The first night that I am wondering how to get what is needed, and what it will all look like.

This is the first year I'm celebrating without talking to my Mom about it.

This is the first time on the first night I feel...well, sad.

For this is the first night of a year of 'firsts'; the first festival of a year's worth of coming festivals that will require new traditions, new ways to celebrate.

It may not be important to some, but it is life-altering for me.

Blessed are You, Lord our God,
King of the universe,
who has kept us alive, and has preserved us,
and enabled us to reach this time.