Hanukkah and the Christian faith
- The Jews remembered the purification of the Jerusalem Temple that
was defiled by the Syrian King Antiochus Epiphanes in 169 B.C. The
defiled Temple was purified and dedicated in 165 B.C by Judas
Maccabeus. This event was celebrated every year thereafter. This is
the popular festival of lights of the Jewish community
called "Hanukkah". It is also known as the Feast of the Lights. This
8-day event was established by King Hezekiah as seen in 2 Chr 29:17.
At the time of our Lord Jesus, the Temple of Jerusalem had in it a
seven branched lamp (Menorah), and also an eight branched lamp
called the chanukan lamp. During the eight day festival, the first
candle of the eight branched lamp would be lit on the first day. Two
candles lit in the second day and so on until the eigth day when all
the candles would be lit.
At the purification of the temple, jewish tradition states that a
miracle took place. Only a small amount of sacred oil was available
to light and keep alight the lamps. The miracle was that the lamps
kept going until new oil was consecrated. The small amount lasted
Hanukkah is briefly mentioned in the Gospel and only it seems in
passing. "And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication and it
was winter" (John 10:22).
We do not have much to go on. Perhaps the reason for this maybe
that the real miracle that brought deliverance so often to the
people of Israel had for the first time their Messiah, their Saviour
in their midst. But for now he was passing through on his way to the
place waiting for him, a place only he could go for you and for me
to the Cross. It is here for Jew and Gentile that Jesus took our
place and judgement for our sins.
Hanukkah reminds us that God is with us in a miraculous way and that
after 2000 years the oil of the Holy Ghost has not dried up. The
glow of eight candles burning together is much brighter than one. It
also reminds that though we may not fully understand all that God is
doing we know that one day "All the earth will be filled with the
glory of the Lord".
Perhaps there is another reference to Hanukkah in the Gospel of St.
John 20: 26 that, when the Apostle Thomas desperate and wants to
believe but found things so tough. We read that Jesus came to his
rescue after eight days. If at this time we too are finding things
tough Hanukkah gives us encouragement to keep going through our
struggles for Jesus will surely come. Amen.
Hanukkah celebrates during the month of December and it is the Feast
of the Lights. Christmas also consider as the feast of the lights,
for it is the remembrance of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, the
Light of the World.
Jehova Nissi, Baseelia,