Jots and Tittles: Hanukkah

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

‘It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. The people surrounded Him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”’ (John 10:22–24 NLT)

Hanukkah—also known as the Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication—is still celebrated today. It’s an annual event and it goes for eight days. It commemorates a great victory and a wondrous miracle. Although the date varies from year to year—because the Hebrew calendar doesn’t line up with our Western secular one—it usually occurs in December. This year it starts on 28 November and ends on 6 December.

About 200 years before Jesus was at the Temple for Hanukkah, the land of Israel was ruled by Greek kings. After Alexander the Great had come and gone, conquering as he went, the generals of his army divided up the territory for themselves after his death. One of them was given Israel as a prize. In the following centuries, Greek culture came to influence the people so much that many of them abandoned the faith. One of the Greek kings began pagan sacrifices in the Temple.

A group of Jews banded together to stop the idolatry. The Maccabees—the hammer—were the leaders of this revolt. Eventually, they recovered Jerusalem and rededicated the Temple. This ceremony of dedication (hanuk) was remembered year after year through the lighting of a special nine-branched candlestick. According to a later story, when the Temple was about to be purified it was discovered that there was only enough oil to light the lamps for one day. Yet the oil miraculously burned for eight days. This miracle was why the feast came to be called the Festival of Lights.

Jesus used Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, to point to Himself. As the darkest days of winter approached, He healed the eyesight of a man born blind and, speaking about the sign of the miracle said, ‘I AM the Light of the World.’ (John 8:12 NIV)
But He also said about His disciples at another time, ‘You are the light of the world.’ (Matthew 5:14 NIV)

We are all called to point to the Light of Jesus shining in the darkness. He is the Light of the World and He asks us, through our dedication to Him, to take the glorious brightness of His presence into our home, our community, our nation, our world.
This year, take up His Light and take it to your friends, family and community! Go!

About the author

ahamilton

MORE GREAT READS FROM

Rise Slowly

‘Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone.’ 1 Timothy 5:22 CSB Before David became the king of Israel, he spent years tending a flock of sheep in the wilderness. That’s where he built his relationship with God and honed his skills as a strategist and warrior. If you want to succeed, here is an important principle you…

Today’s Readings

Position

‘And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me.”’ Exodus 33:21 NKJV God told Moses, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you.’ (Exodus 33:19 NKJV) But in order to see that promise fulfilled, Moses had to be properly positioned. So God said, ‘Here is a place by Me.’ When you are in the place God has…

Today’s Readings

Don’t Rush Ahead!

‘In due season He will honour you with every blessing.’ Psalm 37:34 TLB When God gives you a promise or a vision for your life, it’s like a seed. It needs time to take root and grow before it can bear fruit. It’s like the birth of a baby. First conception, then pregnancy, and finally delivery! And…

Today’s Readings

Truth vs. Error

‘An enemy has done this!’ Matthew 13:28 NLT Jesus said: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew….

Today’s Readings

Godliness: 3

‘They acted with complete honesty.’ 2 Kings 12:15 NIV In the Old Testament, when King Joash repaired the temple, we’re told: ‘The money brought into the temple… was paid to the workers… They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.’ (2 Kings 12:13–15 NIV)…

Today’s Readings

Recent Articles

Kevin Quinn: Wildfire

Former Disney star Kevin Quinn is determined to use his mainstream appeal to share the message of the Gospel. Kevin recently released his new single, ‘Wildfire’, which he hopes will inspire his followers to put their faith in Jesus. Like most of us, Kevin has had to adapt to the disruptions caused by Covid. He’s…

Alexander Pappas: Idaho

Growing up on a 10-acre property in Idaho, Alexander Pappas never dreamed he would one day end up touring the world as frontman for ‘Hillsong Young and Free.’ But that’s precisely what happened. His parents moved the family there from Southern California when he was just ten years old, and it was ultimately the place…

Jots and Tittles: Ahav / Ahava (Love)

The very first place in the Bible the word love is used, is in the account of God commanding Abraham to take his son Isaac, “whom you love” and offer him as a sacrifice. Any parent would understand the love Abraham had for his son and what a horrifying prospect it would have been for…

Coby James: Brand New

Coby James has always loved music. From a young age, he enjoyed composing songs in his bedroom, and it’s still the place he feels the most comfortable today. As a teenager, Coby’s dad bought him some studio software and it fueled his dream to create music that the world would sing to one day. “I…

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.