Dedication

†††† I am not speaking of dedication in the sense of self-sacrificing devotion, even though that played a part in what I will be discussing. I speak of renewal and consecration. I want to share with you a story that most have heard something about. It is even briefly spoken of in the scriptures, located at John 10:22. From this scripture we learn of its name and time of year that it took place. On our own calendar it could fall anywhere between late November to late December. During Jesusí time in Greek it was called the Feast of the Dedication, while in Hebrew it was called Chanukah which we know it better as, also today we know it by the Festival of Lights. Did Jesus celebrate or partake in Chanukah? Scriptures do not specifically mention if he did or did not. I would hazard a guess that he might have since he was brought up in a family that probably did observe it. Either way makes no difference to me. Unlike the Holy Days that God has setup for ALL of His people to observe, Chanukah is a celebration created to honor and praise God for a miracle that took place in a dark time of the Israelite history.

†††† Back even before John 10:22 the Judean area being under control by Antiochus III still had freedom of worship as they saw fit, until Antiochus IV took it away from the Israelites in 170 BCE. A ban was put into place to prevent the observance of Judaism for 3 Ĺ years. Around 166-165 BCE Antiochus IV has an alter erected for Zeus placed in the temple, which already had been looted years earlier, and pigs are sacrificed, desecrating the temple and pushing the people beyond what they could bare. This brought about the revolt lead by the Maccabees, which eventually led to their freedom and the rededication of the temple. The story goes that when the time came to sanctify the temple and rededicate it they had found only enough oil for one day for lighting, but this one day supply lasted a full eight days, giving them the needed time to press and make new oil for the lamp. Thus we have the Festival of Lights or Chanukah (Feast of the Dedication). There is more to the story including the struggle and fight that took place to get to this point, but I wanted to focus on the miracle of the oil. The dating of the feast and length can be found in 1 Maccabees 4:36 and 2 Maccabees 1:18 (should read more than just those specific verses).

†††† Traditionally those that celebrate Chanukah will light one candle the first day and each sub sequential day will continue to add one more candle, so by the last and eight day all eight candles will be lit. Even that was in debate if they should start with one and end with eight or start with eight and end with one. Then you also have the dreidel game to play, latkes to eat and gelts (gold coins that were chocolate inside) handed out to children. Those are fun things to do during this festive time, as well as giving of gifts which were never of extravagance. The giving of gifts I see as blessings, God has blessed me so through His blessing it allows me to bless others. For me itís not the gifts or activities, but the miracle itself that matters the most. I like to take the time to look back and thank the LORD for the miracles he has done for me throughout my life, each day remembering at least one miracle a day and to give thanks to God for it. Though we should always remember what God has done for us, but at times it seems that we need to set out time to do so or those moments seem to slip away.

†††† There can also be more read into the Menorah as well, such as the servant candle that is normally located in the center or off to one side, however it is, either set apart if itís on the side or placed higher or lower if located in the center, this candle represents Christ to me. He is our king (placed higher), servant (placed lower) and was set apart for he would become our sacrifice that none other could be. The eight candles can represent a new beginning which we look forward to and that Christ became for us. Through him we are given a chance at a new beginning.