Can you imagine someone loving you so much that twenty years before you knew it, a gift was bought with you in mind? Well, such is the case of my Hanukkah story. Twenty years ago my heavenly Father knew I would be on a journey to discover the Hebrew roots of my Christian faith and would be celebrating my first Hanukkah this year. In the year 2000, He put in the heart of a young woman to go to Israel, while in Israel she bought a menorah. For twenty years she had this menorah and never used it. The amazing part about this story is that I met this young woman, who I now call my sister in 2005. I was a Christian believer then as I am today but we never had a conversation about my faith. In fact, it was while I was at her house in 2005 with my mom when I got the inspiration for the cover design for my first book, Seasons of Life – Taking Man Back to God.
Fast forward to today, about two months ago she asked me about my faith. She asked if I was a Jewish believer. I told her I am not Jewish but I have been learning about the Hebrew roots of my Christian faith from a Jewish perspective. That is when I had the opportunity to share my faith with her. It was during this conversation that she told me about her trip to Israel. She then had her daughter bring the menorah she had, it was still in the satin bag from when she bought it twenty years ago. When I looked at it I realized that it was not a regular temple menorah that has seven branches but, a special menorah for Hanukkah called the Chanukiah that has nine branches. Together we decided to celebrate Hanukkah for the first time.
As of December 8, 2020 along with her daughter we have been lighting the Chanukiah candles and praying the Hanukkah blessings. I also get to share the story of Hanukkah and how it relates to us as Christian today or we watch teaching about Hanukkah. Today is the seventh day of Hanukkah and lighting the candles has been something we look forward to each night for the past six days. Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration. It is a gift that was prepared for me twenty years ago, a love that cannot be denied.
Now before you go thinking that Hanukkah is for the Jewish people only, let me shed some “light” on why I choose to celebrate Hanukkah. The word Hanukkah in Hebrew means dedication. The celebration of Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of the oil in the temple menorah that was only sufficient for one day but lasted for eight days. There is a principle and a message we should learn from the Hanukkah story. The reason Hanukkah is so special is not only that Judah Maccabee, his brothers, and the few men he could gather defeated the Greek-Syrian army or that the oil in the temple menorah lamp for one day lasted eight days, it proves once again that darkness always gives way to light.
The victory of Hanukkah symbolizes the preservation of God’s people during a time of spiritual and physical darkness. Before the Maccabean revolt, the people of Israel were oppressed by the self-proclaimed god Antiochus IV who outlawed Jewish observance of the Torah and their religious practices. He took over temple worship, offered pig sacrifices on the temple altar, and forced the Jews to worship Greek gods. It was a time of spiritual darkness because, during that time, there was not a prophet or priest among the people with whom God communicated. It is said that God was silent.
The celebration of Hanukkah and lighting the Chanukiah candles is not just a reminder of God’s preservation of the Jews but also a reminder to us of His love towards us. On the Chanukiah there are nine (9) candle branches. The middle candle is called the Shamash (attendant) or the servant candle. Each night the servant candle is lit first, then it is used to light the candles for each night. The Bible declares that Yeshua (Jesus) is the light of the world, John 1:1-14.
Yeshua, Himself states, I did not come to be served but to serve. He is the light that gives light to all men. As believers, we are to take the light of Yeshua to those living in this dark world without hope. You are the light of the world, and the light you now have is to bring life to those who need Him.
There is something that I want to point out that I believe is also important to learn from the Hanukkah story. Before the temple could be rededicated and brought back to its right standing as God’s house of dwelling there had to be a cleansing of the temple. The temple had to be cleansed because the profane and the holy cannot be mixed together. Although there is not a physical temple for the Spirit of God to dwell, the Bible teaches us that we (our bodies) are the temple of the LORD. However, before His Spirit can dwell in us, like the temple, there has to be a cleansing within us from sin and unrighteousness. That is why God sent His Son, Yeshua to die to restore or rededicate us back to a life with Him. John 3:16 states “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Yeshua the Servant Candle wants to set you ablaze so you can go light your world.
Would you yield yourself to Him today?
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
45 For eventhe Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, andto give His life a ransom for many.”
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.