Jesus is the light of the world – the Messiah spoken of by prophets of old in Scripture!
God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5b)
Is Christmas, the holiday of lights, related to Hanukkah?
On Thursday December 7 when I was driving back home to Culpeper from Giles County, I called Jeff Bernstein. As you may recall, Jeff is my Messianic Jewish friend who founded Gates of Zion [www.gatesofzion.net]. I first met Jeff in April 2006 at the Apostolic Transformation Network meeting hosted by Harvest Evangelism in New York City.
More than anyone else, Jeff has opened my eyes of understanding to the importance of blessing the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Serving as my private tutor, Jeff has helped me appreciate the richness of the Jewish culture.
When we were talking on December 7, Jeff told me that Hanukkah begins this year (2006) on the evening of December 15. He proceeded to teach me about “Hanukkah,” Hebrew for “dedication.” Before we finished our conversation, the Holy Spirit prompted me to dedicate my devotional on December 15 to Hanukkah. It seems to me that Christmas, with all the accompanying lights, must tie in closely with Hanukkah.
Hanukkah is the annual Jewish festival celebrated on eight successive days beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar, corresponding, approximately, to December in the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, and Feast of the Maccabees. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabee in 165 BC after the Temple had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria and overlord of Palestine.
Every winter during Hanukkah, Jewish families gather to light a branched candelabra called a Menorah. For eight nights they celebrate their families and celebrate their faith. When we think of Hanukkah, we think of the Menorah – it’s 8 flames burning a testament to the glorious victory that took place over 2,000 years ago.
Hanukkah serves as a memory to the end of the Greek rule over a Temple in Jerusalem. It’s a victory of religious freedom. For each of the 8 days, Jewish families around the world light a new candle on the menorah. This brings a sense of “hope” into their homes.
The Menorah has 9 candle holders – eight for the eight days and one for the shamash (the helper) which stands taller than the others (representing Messiah) and is in the center. As they light a new candle each of the eight days, the Jewish people recite specific blessings.
LORD, You are the light of the world. Thank You for being the light of my life and my family. As the eight day Festival of Lights begins tonight, please open the eyes of understanding of Christian people around the world to our Hebrew roots. Light a fire of desire in the hearts of Gentile believers around the world to bless the Jewish people. Thank You Jeshua. Amen.
Link of the Day
History of Hanukkah – This is fantastic four minute video!!!
Blessings to celebrate our rich Jewish heritage!
Joseph Peck, M.D.
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