Hanukkah celebrates the miraculous victory of the few against the many, the weak against the mighty, and good against evil.
On the evening of the 18th December, the first candle of Hanukkah will be lit, two candles the next evening, and so on until all eight candles will grace the windows of most of the homes of Israel and the Jewish world. In the northern hemisphere’s winter, their lights are warm and welcoming as are the gatherings of family and friends throughout the week.
Hanukkah means dedication, referring to the rededication of the Temple after its defilement by the pagan forces that ruled the Land of Israel and tried to destroy Jewish belief and traditions. Interestingly, the word for ‘education’ in modern Hebrew is derived from the same root as Hanukkah. Education is seen as ‘dedicating’ the children, for the purpose for which their life is intended.
When the small band of Jewish fighters experienced a victory over the godless forces, thereby regaining Jerusalem and the Temple, it was extremely important to cleanse and rededicate the place that represented the presence of God; the throne of God; the worship of God; the mercy and redemption of God. Paul would have had that in mind when he said our bodies were the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 6:19) or spoke of Believers collectively being a ‘holy temple’, a ‘spiritual house’, (Ephesians 2:21; 1 Peter 2:4). How important it is for us to be aware of defiling influences in our lives that prevent our full dedication in serving a Holy God.
WHAT JESUS UNDERSTOOD ABOUT HANUKKAH?
It is no exaggeration to say that had it not been for Hanukkah, there could have very well not been a Christmas…
ICEJ Australia National Director