Hi all, sorry to be awol for a while. The once removed gallbladder is still giving me trouble and I focused all my engery on trying to ignore it and work on some gifts which I will post pictures of tomorrow. We have been celebrating Hanukkah all this week and tonight is the 8th day. We light our hanukkiah and say blessings, play the dreidle game with the kids and eat things made with or in oil to remember the miracle of the oil in the Temple.
To read a short history of Hanukkah and the miracle of the oil click on this link: http://judaism.about.com/od/chanukah/a/hanukkahstory.htm , and here for a believers perspective: http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefeastsandholidays/p/feastofdedicati.htm.
Hanukkah isn't one of the seven Feasts of the L-rd mentioned in Leviticus 23 but it was celebrated by Yeshua, John 10:22. You will see it in scripture as the Feast of Dedication. It is a civil memorial celebration to honor G-d and His providence, like our Thanksgiving. The cleansing of the defilement and dedication of the Temple again to the L-rd is a major part of the story of Hanukkah.
As messianic believers we celebrate Hanukkah with that goal, cleansing and dedication of ourselves to the L-rd. During these eight days we focus not only on the miracles that G-d did during the times of the Macabees but also what Yeshua and Shaul (Paul) teach us about cleansing ourselves of defilement and dedicating ourselves, as we are the Temple of the Lord's Spirit now, to Him, His will and service (1 Cor 3:16, 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16, plus more on this same theme).
It is also called the Festival of Lights and light is a teaching of Yeshua as well. He is the Light of the World and He tells us that we as Believers are that light now. Light is a major theme of Yeshua's teachings and we meditate on them during these days as well.
When we light the candles we say the blessing:
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh haolam shehekheyanu, ve-kiyamanu vehiggianu Lazman Hazeh - Blessed are you L-rd our G-d King of the universe, who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this time.
Then while lighting the candles we say:
We light these lights for the miracles and wonders, for the redemption and the battles that you made for our fathers in those days at this season, through your holy priests. During all eight days of Hannukkah these lights are sacred and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, but only look at them; In order to express our thanks and praise your great name for your miracles, your wonders and your salvations.
"Rock of my salvation, to You praise is due. Establish Your house of prayer and let thanksgiving be offered there. The time will come when You will end all hurt and enemies will cease to be. Then I will sing and celebrate the dedication of Your sanctuary."
The Macabee's fought with zeal against the Greeks who ordered them to forsake G-d and His Word. During this season of the L-rd's salvation let us seek to cleanse and dedicate ourselves as His Temple. Let us also shine forth brightly as His Light in the darkness and to zealously serve Him in love.
Shalom until tomorrow,
Comments are always welcome if you have the time, I love to hear from you!