The Hanukkah season is now upon us, and we are beginning a joyous celebration! Hanukkah is a time to celebrate light, love, sacrifice, and God’s provision!
And this year, 5776/2015, is especially important because it is a Jubilee Hanukkah!
A Jubilee occurs every 50 years and marks a time of restoration and a season where debts are released. This Jubilee Hanukkah we are celebrating the RESTORATION of the LIGHT!
As we begin to examine the origins of Hanukkah we find that it was birthed in the midst of turmoil and war. It was during the 2nd century BCE when the Syrian-Greek ruler, Antiochus IV tried to force the Jews to assimilate into Greek culture—even to the extent of prohibiting Jewish religious observance. These actions sparked what would be known as the Maccabean revolt—initially led by Matitiyahu and then by his son, Judah the Maccabee. It was in 164 BCE, after 3 years of battle, and against all odds, when the Maccabees finally defeated Antiochus’ armies and reclaimed Jerusalem!
After their victory, the Jewish fighters entered the Holy Temple, finding it in complete disarray. The Temple had to be cleansed and rededicated; it was in shambles and littered with pagan idols. When it was time to light the Menorah, the Maccabees found only one jar of Holy oil bearing the seal of the High Priest. The men were forced to light the Menorah in faith that this small amount of oil would last. It would take a miracle! And through a miracle of God, the oil burned for eight days—the time it took the priests to prepare more Holy oil. This was the true miracle of Hanukkah—the Festival of Lights!
Yeshua identifies Himself with Hanukkah as “the Servant who brings the Light.” The center candle of the Hanukkiah (the nine branched menorah) is referred to as the “Shammas,” or “Servant” candle—the one that provides the flame for the other eight branches.
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”—John 9:5
In fact, we know that Yeshua had a very special relationship with the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). Not only is it believed that He was conceived during this season (and then born during Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles), but it is also recorded in John 10:22-23 that “it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.”
It is interesting that Hanukkah falls during the month of Kislev, which is known as the month of darkness with its longer nights and shorter days. This is a month where it is said that light shines brighter and the dreams and night visions increase. It is a month of future revelation—a month of birthing new ideas!
Friend, YOU are called to be a light in this world! And just like Yeshua, you are called to be a servant.
“You are the light of the world…In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”—Matthew 5:14 & 16
During this busy holiday season I would encourage you to take time out and consider how you can stop. Breathe. And take a moment to serve others in the midst of the chaos.
It isn’t about the parties. It isn’t about the gifts. Or obligations. Or wrapping. Or bows. Or baking. Or stress. Or commercialism.
But it is about love. Light. The gift that Yeshua was and is to us. It is about celebrating servant hood and giving the best ourselves to the true purpose of the season: salvation.
Sometimes we get so caught in trying to create a memorable experience that we don’t allow ourselves the time to experience the miracle of the season.
Friends, light a candle, light 8 of them, and sit alone or sit with your family and take a moment to experience His goodness, His faithfulness, His love, and His light.
Hanukkah is indeed a celebration of Light, and the celebration of the restored Tabernacle. Take time to restore your own “temple”—your body.
And take time to cherish your own congregation or “temple.” Psalm 69:9 reminds us that we are to be zealous for the House of God, just as the Maccabees were zealous over the state of the Temple:
“Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up…”
This is a season where we demonstrate our love for one another by the giving of gifts—and Hanukkah reminds us of the importance of giving a gift into the Kingdom and God’s House.
This month as you seek the Lord—may He give you ZEAL for His House! A zeal demonstrated by sowing into the House of God with your prayers, time, and finances during this Hanukkah season.
May God bless you this Hanukkah season and always! And don’t forget to join us for our LIVE Hanukkah Service on December 11th at 7:45 CT by CLICKING HERE.