Monday, December 19, 2011

The Eternal Light & the Festival of Lights.

The Brewers are going old school. Real old school. 167 B.C. to be exact.
This year we'll be celebrating Hanukkah. The kids and I will be crafting menorahs & driedels here in a bit. We'll be reading the story of Maccabees triumphing & cleansing the temple. We'll learn about the miracle of the oil that lasted for 8 nights when there was only enough for one night.
My family will be thankful for God's faithfulness in difficult times. The Brewers will celebrate a holiday that was celebrated by Jesus himself. Did you know that Hanukkah is mentioned in the Bible? 
Check out John 10:22:
At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one."
The "Feast of the Dedication" is Hanukkah. Jesus celebrated in the same temple that had been reconsecrated almost 200 years before. 

Hanukkah is the "festival of lights" & the central symbol is the menorah. The designer of the menorah is the Big Man himself, who gave instructions to Moses in Exodus 25:31-40 (the original, 7 branch menorah was ordained only for temple use). There are 8 branches on a Hanukkah menorah, plus a shamash, or servant candle. I bring up the theme of "light" for this reason: 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12 
 We praise & rejoice in the birth of Jesus, the eternal light, on Christmas. I believe Hanukkah can be a wonderful beginning and extension of rejoicing in this season. While we as Christians are not commanded to celebrate Jewish holy days (Colossians 2:16), we are more than welcome to celebrate this holiday. The same God that provided oil for a few, provided a Savior for all.

...though Hanukkah isn’t a biblical festival is does indeed reveal Messiah. Jesus is the single light that burns eternal; far beyond humanly possible. His light was miraculously established by the Father before the foundations of creation. As we walk in obedience to God’s call we each have this miraculous light shining forth from our lives… this light that shatters darkness.*

*From here.


Bonni said...

My family celebrated Hannukah (the Feast of Dedication) most years, and it's a joyful memory!

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