by Barbara Latta @barbaralatta
Last Friday, December 8, began the Festival of Lights called Hanukkah.
What can this special celebration mean to those who are not Jewish?
The observance of Hanukkah commemorates the victory the
Maccabees won when the Roman ruler Antiochus Epiphanes overran Jerusalem and
violated the temple.
Jews were forbidden to make sacrifices or worship God in any
Antiochus sacrificed pigs on the temple’s altar.
Can you imagine the despair the people of Israel felt seeing
these heathen practices unfold in their precious place of worship?
The courage of the Maccabees to confront a massive army
of superior strength shows us how God is the Lord of the impossible.
They were able to defeat and expel the Romans despite their
Isn’t this how God works? He confounds the ways of the
world and uses weaker vessels to create a mighty victory. He does this to show it’s
His power and not man’s efforts.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame
the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the
things which are mighty. (1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV)
After the Maccabees had control of the temple again, they
needed to purify the area. Lighting the Menorah for eight days was part of this
process. But to their dismay the amount of oil available was only enough for
Enter God’s miraculous provision again. Behold, the
Menorah burned for eight days anyway.
Just like Jesus multiplying the loaves and fish, the flame
burned throughout those days of purification.
Rabbi Jason Sobel calls this a time of “fighting and
lighting.” They fought, won, and the lights reflected the victory.
The same God of the impossible shines His light today. The
Holy Spirit fills us with the Light of the world. The devil can’t extinguish
Hanukkah can mean as much to us as Christian believers as
this celebration does for the Jewish people.
The brave Maccabees can inspire us to stand in the face of
evil and not give up. It would have been easy for them to think their efforts
would do no good. But the didn’t do that. They stood against the enemy and the
adversity, and with God’s help, they won.
With so much evil in the world today sometimes we can
think it does no good to pray or believe. But we must remember God works in the
spirit and we can’t always see what He is doing. He tells us to not to grow
weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9–10). Those who endure to the end will be
The best gift we can give to ourselves is to stay strong and
not give up.
As you see the lights of Christmas this year, may the
remembrance of God’s miraculous provision and victory reflect in your heart.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!
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