I've been lighting candles for the last few nights for Hannukah - the second night with a dear friend and her family on Thanksgiving, the last couple with my boyfriend, and tonight alone (though you're not supposed to do that, really, since it's about light and being together). It's not something I grew up with, but I like the ritual.
I am also loving that R'Sharon Brous of IKAR here in LA and Amichai Lau-Lavie from Lab Shul in NY are writing prompts about Hanukkah to think of when lighting the candles. Tonight's was about meditation, it was called Meditat8. They all have clever names with 8 at the end for the 8 nights of Hannukah. So far we've had Activ8, Appreci8/Agit8, Compassion8, Reanim8/Invigor8, and tonight's Meditat8, about World AIDS Day, the beginning of Advent, and taking a moment to reflect.
I don't know what my beliefs are, and I find buying into any dogma challenging, but I like knowing the reasons and thoughts behind the rituals. There is something comforting knowing that this celebration of a miracle has been done for thousands of years. I like that connection. And I also like that even though it refers to a war, what is being celebrated is not the victory, as its not kosher to glorify war, but the miracle of having the light burn. Whether you believe it or not, it's beautiful symbolism.