Chanukah Night 1
Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. I should have posted this blog yesterday to begin the process, but I will do this one now and then one later today so that tonight you can be on track. This year, because my son is here only until early afternoon and two daughters are working when it gets dark, we are actually going to light the first candle together before he leaves. I love how we can be flexible and enjoy the meaning without being legalistic about the exact moment the candle should be lit. God LOVES that we honor and worship Him ALL the time! I hope you walk this journey with me this week.
Chanukah... Known as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication (the Temple was rededicated). I choose to celebrate this holiday even though it is not a “biblical holiday” commanded in the Torah. It is mentioned in the book of John, which explains to us that Jesus was in Solomon’s Colonnade during the “Feast of Dedication” (see John 10:22-23).
I choose to connect the Fruits of the Spirit when the candles are lit. This started years ago when a Jewish friend who believed in Jesus (she has since passed away) taught me how she ties the two together. It is a beautiful way to weave these teachings into the idea of Chanukah, which is the understanding that we are to “be a light.”
If you count the fruits of the Spirit there are nine. Chanukah only has eight nights. How does one bring the connection?
Technically the “shemash” candle, or the “servant” candle, which we call the “love” candle, is lit every night. This is the candle that is set apart, or higher, than all the others. For those who believe in Jesus as their Messiah, this candle represents Him. Jesus was the ultimate LOVE sacrifice we all know. Jesus was the ultimate SERVANT we all have been taught about.
This candle is the one that lights all the others. If we have Jesus as the Lord of our LIFE, than HIS LIGHT should shine through us to everyone we meet. HIS LOVE should be the source of ALL we do. HIS LOVE will bring the fruits of the Spirit into our lives.
Here are verses about LOVE:
For the mountains may leave and the hills be removed,
but my grace will never leave you,
and my covenant of peace will not be removed,”
says Adonai, who has compassion on you. (CJB)
In the ESV the translation uses the word, “love” instead of grace:
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (ESV)
This is my command: that you keep on loving each other just as I have loved you.
Always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love, (CJB)
All of these verses demonstrate to us that God’s ultimate plan and intent was for community to LOVE one another. HE shows us His love, like He clearly states in the verse from Isaiah. Then He sent His Son, Jesus, who demonstrated the ultimate LOVE sacrifice by dying for us and commanded us to LOVE others as HE loves us. The command to “love each other” carried over into the teachings of Paul because Paul was educated from the Torah. He knew the desire of God’s heart was for everyone to “love the Lord your God with all your heart... and love your neighbor as yourself.”
I believe that throughout the whole Bible there is a teaching of LOVE. Even in the middle of the judgement and wars that God allows, His ULTIMATE plan and DESIRE is for LOVE to win. When we show HIS LOVE, HE WINS.
Love is shared and shown to others in many different ways. We can bake a cake, or change a tire. We can give a hug, or enjoy a cup of coffee and listen. Find ways to SHARE HIS LOVE with those you meet. Think outside the box and be a BLESSING to someone. By doing this you will let HIS LIGHT shine through you.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. (CJB)
God saw that the “light was good.” Choose today to be HIS LIGHT and LOVE to those around you.