Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Hanukkah!!!!

Happy Hanukkah Everyone! Tonight at sundown starts the beginning of eight days of Hanukkah. Boy am I ready for this!!! It's a celebration...for eight days we celebrate....lots of food, fun, playing games, food, singing songs, food, family, food, friends, food, laughter....did I mention food?! We'll eat for days!!!

Some of you may not know what this is all about...I posted a guest post on ABNPoppa's blog, but I'll try to explain it here too. This is a typically Jewish Festival. We've been doing this Festival for about 8 years now. And I have to be honest. To my Christian friends that don't celebrate this, I'm sorry. You're really missing a great celebration! Let me explain what led us to start doing this....I can do that in one word: G-d! Well, I better do 'some splaining' to quote Ricky Ricardo of I love Lucy fame.

About 200 BC, Antiochus IV Epiphanes was king of Syria. He was a Greek Hellenist. He also controlled all of Judea and Samaria. (Northern Israel) Being a Hellenist, Antiochus believed in the 'if it feels good, do it' train of thought. And he also worshiped the Greek gods. For several years that didn't really affect the Judeans (the Jews)until he began making laws making the practice of Judaism illegal. This began a bit of grumbling but some Jews tried to fit in by becoming more Hellenistic themselves. When Antiochus took over the Holy Temple in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), and decided to slaughter a pig on the altar...well, let's just say it didn't go over well. There was a priest nearby named Mattithius who had 5 sons...and they were NOT happy campers!!! In fact, they led a major revolt against the entire Greek Army! After Mattithius died, his son Judah the Macabee (the hammer) took over and continued the revolt. It took them two years, but this little band of really hacked off Jews defeated the entire Greek Army and won Yerushalayim back. Pretty incredible, huh. A bunch of farmers, shepherds and lowly craftsmen, banded together beat the Greek Army with all it's weapons.

Well, the first thing this group of Macabees did was to clean and prepare the Holy Temple (which I believe was built by King Solomon) so that YHWH could dwell there again. They cleaned the Temple, remade the altar, remade the Holy implements and went to relight the Holy Menorah (a large seven branched candelabra) when they discovered there was only one small jar of sanctified oil for the Menorah. Oy Vey!! What's a good Jewish boy to do?! Well, gather up plenty of olives, and make oil of course! So they did. This was a time consuming process that takes about 8 days to complete....and then a priest had to sanctify it. So when they returned to the Temple with it's wonderful Menorah made of gold as commanded to Moses hundreds of years before....figuring they'd have to relight everything....LOOK! The Menorah was still lit! All 7 bowls of oil were STILL burning!!!!! A mighty miracle took place there! So quick, let's have a celebration! And this is where the celebration of today gets the 8 days of celebrating....

Now, move forward to Yeshua's time, and check out John 10:22. It says Yeshua (Jesus) was in Yerushalayim for the Festival of Dedication...This means Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated Hanukkah also. Which only makes sense when you remember that He was a Jew...raised by Jewish parents in a Jewish household. And His followers were Jews also. So of course they'd celebrate Hanukkah. It's great fun! And have I mentioned the food??? But I digress.

So about 8 years ago we noticed that verse in John 10...and started looking into what that meant. We found a jewel hidden before our eyes all these years! For eight days we thank Papa for His provision, protection and love. We eat foods made with oil, cooked in oil or splashed with oil. We eat jelly donuts (sufginoyt), cookies with icing, rugellah (rolled jelly cookie things), and chocolate gelt by the pound!!!! We play games, spin Driedels to win more gelt (chocolate coins) laugh lots, and sing silly songs. My favorite is sung to the tune of Mammy's Little Darling Loves Shortning Bread...only we sing Bubbe's little darling loves latke cakes. (Bubbe is Yiddish for Grandma) or we dance, or we laugh. We spend time with family, friends, and celebrate all the blessings we've already gotten, will get or have right now. We pray prayers using words from His Love Letter to Us! We pray for family for friends and for the world. And we attempt in this season especially to make the world just a little bit better for us being here. Now, we try to do that all the time, but we make more concerted efforts to beautify the world and those around us at this time of year. So if I'm quiet for the next few days....I'm either eating, praying for you my friends, dancing with the Lover of my Soul, eating, cooking, playing games, eating, singing or eating more! Now that you will be in our prayers every day. You are anyway, but we'll ask special blessings for you....and thank Papa for sending each of you into our lives...whether only online or in've blessed us both ways. May Papa shine His light into your lives and show you the amazing blessings He's given you especially at this season. Shalom and Mozel Tov!!! Spitfire and the boys