Chanukah a Reflection of Faith
It is an interesting minor feast that is recorded in the book of Maccabees and in the bible, the book of John, Chapter 10. The internet is also filled with information regarding the feast. The miracle of Chanukah has a lot of reflection on light. One interesting tradition is lighting a Chanukkiah which has 9 lights and is lit facing out toward the street so a passerby can observe the light. The link is some good information on traditional Chanukah. https://www.wikihow.com/Light-a-Chanukah-Menorah https://ritualwell.org/hanukkah-candle-lighting
The Chanukkiah technically has 8 lights to memorialize the eight days of the oil burning to give time for more oil to be made holy. The ninth is known as the servant light and is used to light the other lights.
In scripture we can find patterns of 8. One of the meanings is that it signifies a new beginning. A new beginning is like a rededication, which is the meaning of the word Chanukah and also is sometimes called the Feast of Dedication. As we look at the Feast of Chanukah and then relate it to our lives in Messiah, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on our faith. The meaning of Chanukah is the rededication of the temple, but we also know our body is a spiritual temple (1 Corinthians 3: 16). Just like the temple needed rededication, we also could use the inspiration of Chanukah to have a time of renewal to G-d.
As we observe these traditions, I search for meaningful experiences to bring into our lives, so we can grow into what G-d has purposed for us.
My husband and I decided on a bible study this Chanukah. When we go to the scriptures we can always find help to bring spiritual meaning into our lives and inspire us to be renewed in our faith in Messiah.
The bible study is not connected with any traditional Chanukah observance. My husband and I just wanted a time to gather around the candles and discuss the scripture. We involved whoever showed up to visit and any children in the house. In John 10, we read that Yeshua (Jesus) was at the Feast of Dedication. We read this chapter on the first night so everyone is aware that he attended the feast and to hear the proclamation that HE and the Father are one.
We also read the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) book of 2 Peter 1: 1-9 that has a list of 8 interesting growth steps. These are Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Self-Control, Patient endurance, Godliness, Brotherly love, and then Charity or Love for all mankind.
The eight steps worked out well as we applied them to the Chanukkiah because of the eight candles. We made a little handwritten poster to go with the Chanukkiah to display the 8 steps from the book of 2 Peter. As we compare the 8 lights to the 8 growth steps in 2 Peter one for each night went very well. However, the Chanukkiah it has nine lights. What do we do with the ninth candle that is separate or higher than the rest, and is known as the servant light (Hamash)?
The ninth candle works out well as a type and shadow of our Messiah,Yeshua. When we believe (have faith) in Jesus, it brings spiritual light into our life and we are born again. (John 1:4, John 8:12 and John 12:36)
The servant candle when lit brings light into the home and can be shown as a representation of Jesus bringing light into the believer’s life. The servant candle represents our Messiah and He is the light that helps to light those 8 steps from 2 Peter. If we do not have his light in us, we cannot understand His Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Self-Control, Patient endurance, Godliness, Brotherly love, and then Charity or Love for all mankind.
The lighting of the Chanukkiah went like this: On the first night we light the servant candle (Messiah in us) and the first candle (Faith). Our first night’s discussion included the faith that brings salvation and about how our Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) brings this salvation. This was an excellent time to share our testimonies of how we experienced salvation and our experiences with our faith.
Each following night we add another step and discussed how one lead to another such as on the 2nd night, we talked about Virtue and how Faith leads to Virtue. We continued on with the 3rd night, Knowledge, the 4th night, Self-control, the 5th night, Patient Endurance, the 6th night, Godliness, the 7th night, Brotherly love, and on the 8th night, love for all mankind also known as Charity.
On the 8th night all the candles are lit and we conclude the feast.
We had a very special time sharing by sitting around the Chanukkiah while it burned discussing scripture
and snacking on treats. It was relaxed and informal. The observation of Chanukah was a very fulfilling experience this year.
Next year Lord willing, we may repeat or look at the 9 gifts of the spirit!