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Embracing Chanukah: Letting our Lights So Shine...

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

In my prayer time this morning, I asked the Lord God Almighty Heavenly Father what He’d like for me to do today. Holy Spirit showed me that I had yet to make time to study, truly celebrate, and write about the Festival of Lights known as Chanukah. And, while it has been a full two weeks since then, I find myself feeling led to begin a “make-up” session in remembrance of those holidays starting this evening. Of course, whenever you’re reading this by His Grace, you are welcomed to join me! Thank You God for Your Grace! Here are a few notes to help orient you to the deep meaning behind this annual feast- chag in Hebrew, this “set-fixed-time” or, “season” with the Lord.

The name Chanukah comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to dedicate” and has the same root as chinuch- the word for Jewish education and training. This root gives us a sense of the impetus behind the holiday’s memorial of 1) having the moral fortitude to fight for Righteousness and religious freedom, 2) reclaiming, recapturing and re-dedicating the Second Temple to the One and Only God our Creator, and 3) studying and obeying the commandments of God as a Way of Life. Chanukah highlights (pun intended) the way that zealous, public devotion to the Almighty God by His elect always invites His Presence, wins every battle, and brings us the Wisdom to move us from glory to greater glory.

In Greek the word “dedication” is egkainia, which also means “renewal”. It infers that Repentance (a conviction of wickedness and a resultant change in direction toward Righteousness) was and is in order. And in 164 BC it was offered to and accepted by God. This means for all of us- those whom He gave to His Son to inherit- that after any fall, once we humble ourselves, God’s Love will reconcile us! Thank You, Lord! Glory to You, Lord!

In fact, the Lord celebrated Chanukah- the Feast of Dedication, in John 10:22-42. Rabbi-Teacher Yeshua-Jesus explains that all who hear His Voice, and follow Him, receive Eternal Life and Divine Protection. Here, at the Temple during Chanukah, He states that those who are not His sheep would not believe, even with all of the Miracles He performed. The Great Shepherd explains that His sheep hear His Voice and hearken to it, that His sheep recognize that He and our Heavenly Father Are One, and that He does The Father’s “Mitsvot” or Good Deeds-Acts of LovingKindness. Later, in John 17, He explains that His greatest desire is that His sheep- His disciples- be one, just as They Are One, by the Gift of the Power of His Holy Spirit, His Spirit of Oneness that makes all things new each day. So by precept, He Is saying that His Oneness allows us to travel in His Footsteps to see His signs and wonders accompany us all the days of our lives. In awe and gratitude, we shout, “HalleluYah to You, Lamb of God!”

In the time of anti-Christ figure Antiochus- who later named himself Epiphanes or, “god manifest”- the Syro-Greeks had seized Jerusalem, forbid the kind of worship commanded by the Torah, and ordered the Israelites to sacrifice... pigs... to Zeus... inside the Temple! Chanukah honors the Faith of Mattathias and his five sons, Hasmonean priests, and their allies who lacked the means to win a war to regain their Temple territory. And God blessed them with Victory over those armies. They lacked the means to honor the subsequent 8-day sanctification of the Temple. And God blessed them with a Miracle: They found only one vessel of consecrated oil that had been hidden from defilement, enough for just one day of light for one candle stick of the menorah; and that one vessel was refilled by the Finger of the Lord each of the remaining seven days! In both instances, they took their first steps in Faith- into the Substance of things hoped for, toward the Evidence of that which had yet to be seen, so that God could establish them in the remembrance of His Triumph from that first Chanukah until now!

One of the most prominent encouragements of this Festival of Lights is to stand up for The Living Word of the Living God, to honor the privilege of being His lampstands, His candles, in any circumstance. We do this by coming out from among the world’s operators and setting ourselves apart- in thought, speech and behavior- as the royal priesthood He designed us to be. The Hasmoneans, later known as Maccabean, priests had what looked like nothing. But directly following the physical battle, God honored their spiritual discernment and tenacity by increasing their anointed lamp oil, and thus their physical and spiritual Light, night by night. In this Miracle, the Lord showed the priests that He was giving them, in advance, the supernatural strength to sustain their resolve unto a lasting peace and religious freedom that would be achieved ultimately… eleven years later. And this same Testimony from God’s Word reassures us by the Spirit of Prophecy that The Lord shall supply all our physical and spiritual needs in the dark times to come until His Return. Now, we pray, Lord again- Be the One Who Has Come! Amen.

(This article shares some interesting details on the players and the timeline leading into and out of the revolt:

The Way- derek in Hebrew- also means journey. 1 John 2:6 clarifies that whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Yeshua-Jesus walked. This lends us a look at a dimension of Faith in which we are to be living, breathing, moving, and having our being in the Love and Light of the Truth of His Word. By residing in this dimension of Faith always, we show Heavenly Father what pleases Him, both inwardly, in spirit, and outwardly, in deed… and let our Faith-Light so shine that it glorifies God before men. Chanukah is seen as a time of public worship of God in remembrance of His Miracles. In honor of the menorah being staged outside the Temple while it was being cleansed, (during the eight days of Temple sanctification following the Maccabean recapture of Jerusalem), today our menorahs are to be lit in view of as many as possible- in public squares, on front lawns, in windows and near entryways.

What the Lord has continued to show me through celebrating these feast days and exploring these cultural customs is that these activities are Divinely Designed by Him to offer a strategic conditioning of the soul for summoning, seeing, and stewarding His Miracles in the Earth. It’s easy to see how meditating on the idea that the Lord replenished the original one-night supply seven more times might prepare us for times of waiting, trusting, battling, and emerging from darkness by His Grace. At times throughout the year when we need the reminder most, the practice of having observed this eight-day remembrance of winning a miraculous victory and re-consecrating the Temple with a Festival of His Lights might help us remember His Almighty Hand and Outstretched Arm are moving on our behalf, always intensifying the brightness of His Eternal Flame in us and throughout Creation. It will be natural for us at those pivotal moments, to operate in trust and delight, knowing that He Is delivering the desires of our hearts… as soon as we have taken that first step in Faith. And, He will stay with us winning the battles and sanctifying our temples unto the return of His Holy Spirit’s full reign within our hearts and minds and realms after that.

To enrich the celebration with personal meaning: each night we can focus on what the candles symbolize. Perhaps they illustrate 1) we can step out in Faith knowing God’s Goodness can Light the pathways to so many more successes than we can imagine; and/or that 2) He Is the Light of the World, the Way to-, the Truth of-, and the Life in- all joys and glories; and/or that 3) every day is an opportunity for us to shine more brilliantly than the last. This page outlines the blessings to be read while lighting the candles each evening. There’s also a link to a helpful two-minute video on how to light the menorah entitled “Do It Yourself Chanukah”.

This article on the basics tenets of Chanukah includes an intriguing three-minute video overview of some of the story behind this holiday season in a video entitled “What is Chanukah?” You’ll find links on that page to all kinds of teachings and traditions and suggestions. You’ll see information about why eating certain fried foods commemorates God’s multiplication of the oil, why children play with the dreidel, and why children are given money, coins, or even chocolate coins! during Chanukah.

A neat note is that Psalm 30 is often sung on Chanukah. It nods to the 25th of Kislev being the first full day after the battle was won, allowing them to begin the cleansing process that would re-dedicate the Temple. So, 25 plus 5 Books of the Torah equals 30. And in this Psalm, written for the dedication of his palace, king David gives an acknowledgment to God that he, himself, as well as all Israel, had been physically and spiritually sick, and thus under serious attack, and near death, until God delivered, healed, and helped them. In his petition, he asks God if He is going to save Israel… or if He’d rather let them perish… and save the rocks to praise Him. What a bold and important admission from the Lord inherent in Psalm 30: Combining worship and praise creates one of the strongest pulls on the heart of God to perform Miracles on our behalves in the Earth!

Another interesting note is that on the 24th of Kislev in 520 BC, during the second year of his reign, king Darius (purported by some to be the son of Hadassah-Esther and Ahasuerus-Xerxes) agreed to fulfill the decree written by king Cyrus decades earlier to provide for the labor and resources to complete the rebuild of the Second Temple. Even though the Temple was erected, zeal for God had waned among the people. This lukewarm posture gave way to the rise of the Syro-Greek marauders eventually. And, perhaps therein lies the most important lesson of this and every holiday-feast-festival-Divine-Appointment-with-God (or, chag in Hebrew) defined in the Bible: observing these traditions in fresh and meaningful ways each year as led by Holy Spirit, can help keep the Fire in our souls stirred up for God, keeping wild battles at bay and wise strategies at play to maintain His Health, Wealth, and Wellness in our everyday lives. Within the metaphor of this event, the Chanukah season reminds us that if we have experienced obstacles on the Way to Victory, Deliverance, Healing, Prosperity, Holiness and anything else our Lord’s Masterpiece on the Cross purchased for us, the time… to take up our own cross and forge ahead again in the Spirit of EmanuEl (God With Us), believing for Favor and Guidance along the Way… is now.

Lord, You Are our Lamp, the Daystar rising in our hearts, from Whom every good and perfect gift is sent. You Are The Father of Lights, The Light. And as we “selah” (pause and reflect) at Chanukah on Your Miracles of Multiplication and Might, we pray that this time has already given us quite a few shimmers and glimmers of Your precious Light. We pray by Your Grace, we continue to shine even brighter in the night. In You, ever more, may we trust and delight. Your Eternal Flame in others, may we see each ignite. And on Your Wings of Loving Kindness, may we all take flight. Amen.


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