Chag Sameach (Happy Holidays)!
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!
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 Hanukkah (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!