Hanukkah, also known as the “Festival of Lights”, is a precious and heartwarming national holiday. The Jewish culture (our brothers and sisters) and many Christians around the world celebrate this historic holiday.
For eight days, families and friends light up the candles of the Hanukkiah. The Hanukkiah is a nine-branched candelabrum which is traditionally placed on the windowsill as passersby can see it or outside one’s gate.
Hanukkah commemorates the recovery of Jerusalem and the subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE. When Antiochus IV reigned, the Jews were prohibited from practicing Judaism and were commanded to worship Greek gods.
When Antiochus IV invaded Jerusalem (about 168 BCE), killing thousands of Jewish people and erecting an an altar for Zeus in the Holy Temple, a small group of Jews, known as Hasmoneans or Maccabees, revolted powerfully to regain control of the Temple and Jerusalem.
After gaining control of the Holy City of Jerusalem, the Jews found the desecrated Temple ransacked and destroyed.
Bit by bit and with loving care, they rededicated the Temple to the Lord, Adonai, with one of the Temple’s daily rituals being the Menorah, which was commanded to burn continuously before the Lord always.
“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant, Aaron (The High Priest), and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning (continually). This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.” Exodus 27:20-21.
One Cruse to Last
As the story goes, there remained only one cruse of oil (container), which had not been defiled, (Yahweh demands purity), containing only enough oil to last one night. Yet, miraculously the one cruse of oil continued to provide oil lasting for eight nights, a sign of God’s providence and provision in the midst of darkness and lack.
To this day, millions of the Jews all over the world remembre the historic Maccabee’s revolt as an example of courage in the face of grave opposition.
The enemies of Israel were intimidating, using fear tactics to coerce them to serve other gods and forget their Jewish identity together along with their calling to serve the One True God of Israel.
The Maccabees could have retreated back into the long shadows of intimidation cast by their oppressors, yet they chose to advance upon darkness, armed with the Truth and reclaimed their rightful place in the presence of Almighty God in the Temple.
Unfortunately, the world we live in today offers us plenty of reasons to be anxious and intimidated. Wars, terrorism, politics, inflation, sickness, ungodly morals plaguing the innocent, and a pandemic of the fear of men, are all looming in the background and foreground of our minds, stealing, or trying to steal away, our Joy and Trust in Lord God, Adonai.
All this would leave us hopeless unless we put our hope and trust In Almighty God to fight our battles and give us strength to resist the enemy.
We Have a Hope
Jesus (Yeshua, His Hebrew name) commanded us to be a light to and in the world, understanding our place as sons and daughters of God, and giving us the confidence to face our daily fears Head-On.
He not only commanded us to be bold for our own sake, shining forth HIS Light but also for those who are locked in the chains of doubt and darkness. Matthew 5:14-16.
Just as the Lord gave the miracle of victory over the enemy and provision of oil when there was not enough but for one day, He will also supply our every need, every time and always. This is one of the things we say He Is famous for. So, celebrate Him in this season! And, Happy Hanukkah!
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