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

Today’s Readings

Keep On

‘The testing of your faith produces perseverance.’ James 1:3 NIV Perseverance keeps you going when friends fail you, discouragement whispers, ‘Give up,’ and doubt says, ‘It can’t be done.’ It’s your anchor in life’s storms, your compass when you’re lost, and the tailwind that gets you up the next hill. James says, ‘The testing of your faith…

He Is Faithful

‘The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you.’ 2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV Most of our worries can be summed up in two words: ‘What if?’ What if I lose my job… what if I lose my friend… what if I lose my car… what if I lose my money… the list is endless….

Today’s Readings

The Splat

‘Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ Hebrews 12:1 NIV So there was this traveller who met a leadership expert somewhere along a bumpy backroad and asked him, ‘Where’s the highway to success?’ The expert didn’t speak but instead pointed to a place off in the far distance. The man, thrilled at the…

Today’s Readings

The First Move

‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39 NIV Two of the most famous ‘marriage advice’ type of verses can shed some real light on how all relationships, not just the relationship between husband and wife, can work better: ‘Be considerate’ (1 Peter 3:7 NIV) and ‘Be worthy of respect.’ (1 Timothy 3:11 NIV) In any kind of relationship, it’s about growing an environment…

Today’s Readings

Fulfill Your Destiny

‘He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives.’ Luke 4:18 NKJV Michelangelo’s masterpiece David is in a gallery in Florence, Italy. Thousands of tourists wait for hours every day to get a glimpse. But many of them fail to notice the series of unfinished sculptures that line the corridor on the…

Today’s Readings

Recent Articles

Jots and Tittles: Hanukkah

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.

Switchfoot: United Through Music

Being part of a successful band for twenty-four years is a rare achievement, but Chad Butler from Switchfoot has lived that reality. There have been many highlights over the years, and while he admits that the experience has been a gift, it’s also a wild ride.

The Sations

It was a quiet night in watching Netflix that prompted Dom, wife Laura and Dom’s sister Rachel to form their band, ‘The Sations.’ Dom says he and Laura wanted to try something different, so they invited Rachel to join them and decided to try writing a song.

Truth to Stand On

Leanna Crawford shares a bit of her journey and how God led her to becoming a singer and songwriter.

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'.