Today Tuesday, December 12 marks the start of Hanukkah 2017. While I am not Jewish I am grateful for my exposure to the Jewish culture. After becoming a Christian in 2009 I began to learn how closely related the two faiths are.
For those not familiar with Hanukkah, it is the Jewish celebration of the festival of lights. It is a season of remembrance of God’s provision. Here’s a brief account of the story of the first Hanukkah. The Maccabees had revolted against the Syrian ruler, Antiochus, who had tried to instill Greek values and religion onto the Jews. And as the Talmud recounts the tale, in their recapture of the Temple and its rededication to the one true God, they found there was oil for the lamps that would only last one day; God provided oil for eight days as the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple from the Syrian ruler.
Each night of Hanukkah we are to add an additional candle to the menorah. For me, the tradition inspires me to trust in God’s provision for my life with gratitude. It is a time of reflection to stand strong in my faith and know God’s purpose for my life.
I start the first day of Hanukkah reflecting on these verses from the Bible:
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:1-3 NLT
The idea of light, existing first in God’s mind, was given form by the words “Let there be light” or “Let light exist.” The reality of the creative power of God’s voice has important spiritual implications that go well beyond the creation account itself. Light is often used as a metaphor in the Bible, and the word illumination (“divine enlightenment of the human heart with truth”) has to do with bringing things into the light. Spiritual illumination is a kind of “creation” that occurs in a human heart. “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus Himself is “the light of the world” (John 8:12).
When God said, “Let there be light,” at the creation, and light appeared, it showed God’s creative power and absolute control. The physical light that God made on the first day of creation is a wonderful picture of what He does in every heart that trusts in Christ, the True Light. There is no need to walk in the darkness of sin and death; in Christ, we “will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
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