Keeping Light in the Darkness

wogwsmall1a.jpgI have discovered that one of the ways to keep our flames burning is by celebrating and learning all about the Festival of Light, commonly known as Hanukkah/Chanukah, referred to also as the Festival of Dedication. I have found that this Festival has both practical and contemplative applications.

Most people are familiar with part of the story, which is the oil. There is more to this story than the oil. In fact the oil part was a later addition to the Talmud. The brief version is that Hellenization had been creeping into the Israelite way of life for many years. When Antiochus IV came to power he openly persecuted the Jewish people, forbidding Torah study and sacrificing pigs on the altar. The Syrians wanted an elderly priest to worship at an altar they dedicated to Zeus. The priest killed the soldier, tore down the altar and fled to the mountains with his sons and some followers. It was this group that later initiated the revolt against the Syrians.

It took almost a century from the time Alexander the Great conquered Israel and the latter events mentioned above. It took another 25 years of fighting before the Maccabees had defeated the Greeks.

From this background we learn how insidious and dangerous conforming to the culture can be, as well as the damage that can be done to our faith if we are not careful. We learn how important it is to stand up for God even if you are only one person. We also learn that sometimes the only way to keep the faith is to fight for it.

We are also reminded of the importance of keeping ourselves dedicated to Him. After the temple was defiled, it had to be rededicated, and that whole process takes eight days. How often do we keep ourselves dedicated to Him?

Lighting the candles each night is a visual reminder of all these things. In these days we need to continue to be lights in the darkness as well as be light in the dark world around us, just as Yeshua (Jesus) is the light of the world. In Hebrew, Jesus is referred to as Yeshua which literally means salvation.

The candle that we use to light the rest of the chanukiah is referred to as the Shamash, or servant candle. Another visual reminder to us that not only is Yeshua the light that has come into the world, but He was also God’s servant. We too are reminded that one of the ways to be a light is by being a servant.

In summary, we learn many things from Chanukah:


We learn about the importance of guarding ourselves from the secular society around us


We learn about defending and fighting for faith


We learn about perseverance in fighting for Him-it took 25 years before the Maccabees were victorious over the Syrians/Greeks


We learn how important it is to keep ourselves dedicated to Him


We learn that we are to be lights in the darkness around us


We learn that we are to be servants, just as Yeshua was.

I hope this helps you to keep your lights burning for Him.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Suzy
    Dec 09, 2007 @ 07:58:36

    Want to let you know you’ve been tagged for a meme.
    Don’t get mad at me it’s not my fault. They made me do it….

    See my Blog for details.

    Reply

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