Let's start in the middle. CHANUKA. Happy story. Military victories of the few over the many... Miracle of the Oil. Happy celebration. Every year. Year after year. Full Hallel every day. Lighting for 8 nights. Starting out modest. Adding each night until full blaze on ZOT CHANUKA.
What happened after the 'Chanuka Story'? Rambam speaks about a return of Jewish rule for another 200 years. B"H. That's more than a lifetime. A number of generations. But then what? Romans destroyed the Beit HaMikdash. Exile. And for a lot more than 70 years. Closer analysis by others conclude that we had 26 years of actual autonomy. And then things went downhill. Did we /they live happily ever after? NOT YET!
Pesach celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. YETZI'AT MITZRAYIM. Torah commanded celebration every year. In good times and in bad times.
Bad times? What happened to the happily ever after? NOT YET!
Shavuot - Z'MAN MATAN TORATEINU. Torah is our life. Happily ever after? NOT YET! Not every Jew (by far) is committed to Torah and Mitzvot.
Switch from Holidays to Parshat HaShavua.
Problems with Eisav. Tearful reunion. Everything forgiven? NOT YET! Kiss and make up? There are dots on each letter to answer that question.
That was last week. How about this week? Big problems with Yosef and his brothers. That's Vayeishev. Mikeitz? Story moves along. We're headed for Egyptian exile. Vayigash? Confrontation - Yehuda and Yosef head to head. Friction gone? Not by a long shot.
Vaychi ends with the brothers not really feeling that all is right between them and their brother. And they were right. The book of B'reishit does not end with happily after. Sh'mot begins with the family having grown into AM B'NEI YISRAEL. But where are we? What's happening to us? Look at the rest of the Chumash. Look at all of Tanach.
We have our ups and we have our downs. Our Seder ends (used to be the end; we've added more) with NEXT YEAR in rebuilt Jerusalem.
And so on and so on. (Add the State of Israel, Yom Haatzmaut, Yom Yerushalayim to the above.) Ask the smae question. Happily after? NOT YET!
If things have been sounding gloomy until now, let's snap out of it.
Happily after comes with the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, the return of the Jewish People to Torah and to Eretz Yisrael. Happily ever after goes with Mashiach. Comes with the whole world recognizing the G-d of Israel as the true One G-d. Until then - NOT YET!
But here's the point. Our celebration and our Hakarat HaTov to Hashem is full, even with the NOT YET! We must be grateful for every positive step on the way. Totally. That's who and what we are.