As we move further away from Christmas each year, I determine to read and pray about more about Hannukah, in our home. And every year – honestly – I “get busy” and forget. I do not make truth the priority it should be in my home and family. But not this year.
If you are not familiar with Hanukkah (or Chanukkah) it is the Jewish Festival of Dedication, also known as the “Festival of Lights.” This is an eight-day festival. Hanukkah 2014 begins on the evening of Tuesday December 16 and ends in the evening of Wednesday December 24.
As I read about the Holiday of Lights — why would we not want to celebrate the miracle of such very little oil that lasted for eight whole days? This marks the miraculous victory of the Jews, led by the Maccabees, against Greek persecution and religious oppression. And another miracle occurred then too: When the Maccabees came to rededicate the Temple, they found only one flask of oil with which to light the Menorah. This small flask lasted for eight days and thus we commemorate this miracle, lighting a Menorah for the eight days of Chanukah.
“Our rabbis taught the rule of Chanukkah: … on the first day one [candle] is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased … [because] we increase in sanctity but do not reduce. ” -Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud
Jesus celebrated Hanukkah at the Temple. My five year old son heard that and said “Why don’t we do it too then?” It’s a good question to pray on, ponder and seek Him on. After all, it was so important that the original church, the disciples, celebrated this…So, my son’s question makes me think: Why don’t we give it that same amount of importance today?
The Festival of Dedication then took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon’s portico (John 10:22-23).
“On the 25th of Kislev are the days of Chanukkah, which are eight… these were appointed a Festival with Hallel [prayers of praise] and thanksgiving.” -Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud
As we celebrate the “Festival of Lights” may we rededicate our lives to Christ and bless Him as the perfect light of this world. Let us take these days to give thanks ad praise to our great Lord and Saviour. And in the days to come may we continue to give glory to God in every moment of our celebration. It’s a beautiful and glorious time of the year to remember and honor the great miracle God has done for us, giving us new light and new life. in Him. ❤