Tonight … ‘we’ light the eighth candle completing the vigil of Thanksgiving. Eight is symbolic of that which is above the natural order and the limitations imposed by it. Hanukkah commemorates the struggle of the Maccabean revolt against the Syrian/Greeks. Some commentators claim it was a fight for the survival of Judaism. 'All' agree that it was an objective that was outside the boundaries of human faith and courage. It required a miracle. The Maccabees mounted an assault on Jerusalem to liberate it from the Greeks. They cleared the Temple of the idols brought in by the occupiers, rebuilt the altar and relit a makeshift Menorah to replace the gold one confiscated by their oppressors. With only one day’s pure oil left, they relit the Temple Menorah. It miraculously burned for eight days. Those eight days inspire strength and confidence in God's faithfulness. I often think about what Jews have had to and continue to endure as a people group. I light the eight candles tonight reflecting on the faith and endurance of the Jewish people, confident they will endure … because He has promised it. As Christians, we believe that we are “branches from a wild olive tree” but that through our common faith in the Living G-d that we “have been grafted in” and that we “receive the blessing G-d has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of G-d's special olive tree.” (Romans 11:17).
It is my faith in this presumption that has led me to celebrate with you. Know that I am grateful for the kindness shown the license taken by me* with ‘our’ holiday and that I join you in thanking G-d for his faithfulness.
Happy Hanukkah. Praise be to G-d. __ * My eight Hanukkah posts are a compilation of a Bible Study I devised concerning the holiday to learn more about the Jewish people and their holidays and traditions. I have ascribed meaning to the candles, here and shared them with you ... but they are of my own contrivance.