Hanukkah -- The Feast Of Dedication
Hanukkah -- the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights, is almost here. This holiday is one of rejoicing and celebration. Why? I'm glad you asked!
Hanukkah has always been a special time for me. Usually falling in December, sometimes coinciding with Christmas, Hanukkah lasts for eight days. Each evening candles are lit, adding one each night, until on the eighth night your menorah is full and shining brightly! For a number of years I thought we were simply celebrating a "Jewish" Christmas, but I was quickly corrected. I learned that Hanukkah had been celebrated long before Christmas.
Hanukkah is a memorial to the Maccabees who kicked some bad guys out of Israel and rededicated the Temple after someone had the bad taste to sacrifice a pig on the altar of God. As a child I thought that this was the reason we had chocolate lollipop Maccabees and chocolate-covered matzoh. We also spent a lot of time on the kitchen floor gambling with our dreydels (a four-sided top) for chocolate coins while basking in the glow of the menorah candles burning on the counter above. Each side of the dreydel has a Hebrew letter representing the words Nes gadol haya sham -- A great miracle happened there. (In Israel they say "A great miracle happened here.") Finally, we've gotten to the miracle!
The miracle of Hanukkah is that God allowed one day's supply of oil to last for eight days -- the length of time needed to consecrate new oil for use in the Temple. It wasn't until after I became a believer in Messiah that the Feast of Dedication took on new significance for me.
Hanukkah is mentioned only once in the Scriptures in John 10:22. We can surmise from this that Jesus Himself celebrated Hanukkah. But that's not why this celebration is so dear to me. If we look at the symbolism in the festival itself, we can see a beautiful picture of the Lord.
In Scripture oil represents the Holy Spirit. God provides His Holy Spirit to His people. Ask the Lord to continually fill you with His oil, the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). We then need to allow His Spirit to shine through our lives so that we may attract others to God's love. As the time approaches for the Feast of Dedication, let's each take a good look at our lives and our walk with the Father and dedicate ourselves to Him anew. Let God's light so shine in your life that the world sees not you, but your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.