Kirk had not really grown up with much religion. His mother had told him about several and encouraged him to investigate them and their beliefs as he saw fit, but he really hadn’t delved too much into it.
He knew a lot from reading, of course. And being a fan of Dickens, he’d read A Christmas Carol a time or two.
By the time he had become a young man in Starfleet he didn’t give much thought to any of it. His mind had been on other things.
Even when they’d been on the planet in system 892, it had taken Uhura to correct his perception that the inhabitants were “sun” worshipers when in fact they had worshipped the “Son of God”.
Even after he and Spock had bonded, retired for the most part, and settled at his family’s old farmhouse in Riverside, Iowa, Kirk didn’t give it much thought.
When he’d been captain of the Enterprise, the ship had festive events surrounding the holiday season. He’d participated in those he thought he should and excused himself from those he thought he could get away with.
To his knowledge, Spock had participated even less than he had, though Kirk knew that Spock had been very private before they’d fallen in love and bonded. Even now, there was so much about his husband he didn’t really know.
So when he came down rather late for breakfast one December morning, he was surprised to see Spock performing a ceremony with candles, and chanting in a language unfamiliar to him.
“Good morning, Jim.” An eyebrow shot up. “Or rather, Good afternoon.”
Jim smiled sheepishly. He’d been feeling a bit under the weather lately, plus he seemed to need more sleep the older he got. “Morning.” He snagged a cinnamon roll from a basket of them and tore off a hunk.
“What are you doing? Jewish, right?”
“Affirmative. As you are aware, ashal-veh, my mother was Jewish.”
“Sure. But I was unaware she was practicing,” Kirk admitted, feeling embarrassed. He should know this.
“When she was able to, she did. My father of course preferred the Vulcan way and discouraged her from sharing much of it with me. But when I was very young, she would celebrate Hanukah with me. Even give me small gifts.”
Kirk frowned. “Why didn’t I know this? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“There was no reason you would know nor a reason for me to tell you,” Spock replied. “I have not observed it myself for many years, but with the recent death of my mother, I find myself thinking of her and of it.”
He moved closer to Spock, surveying the candles. “And you’ve had these all this time?”
“Negative. My father presented me with them after her death when you and I were on Vulcan. He saw no purpose in keeping them.”
Kirk met Spock’s gaze. “He really is never going to be warm and fuzzy is he?”
“You know the answer to that.”
“Yeah. I mean things can’t really take the place of the person we lost, I get that, but it’s…nice to have something, you know?”
Spock nodded. “I know. She used to sing songs too. One was ‘Hanukah, Oh Hanukah’.
Kirk searched his memory, trying to remember the song. He shook his head. “Can you sing it?”
For a moment, Spock simply stared at him. But then very softly he sang,
O Hanukah O Hanukah, Come light the menorah
Let’s have a party, we’ll all dance the hora!
Gather round the table, we’ll give you a treat
Driedels to play with & latkes to eat
and while we are playing, the candles are burning low
One for each night, they shed a sweet light, to remind us of days long ago
Kirk hugged Spock. “Thank you for sharing that with me. Your mom with me. I’m very glad I got to know her.”
“Me too.” Spock lit a candle.