Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

Hello my sweet friends. I see it's been a month again since last I posted.....oops. I'm sorry. And for those of you who sent me private emails, I'm SO sorry I worried you! Life has been incredibly busy and I'm a little behind the ball.....but it's going to get better! I have faith! Now, let's get on with this post!

 This Wednesday, we began the holiday of Hanukkah. For those who don't know what this holiday is, it's also known as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication. If you look in your B'rit Hadasha (New Covenant) in John 10:22, it mentions that Yeshua was at the Temple in Yerushalayim for the Feast of Dedication...This is not a Levitical feast, but it is a Hebrew feast. See way back during the Hasmonean Era in the land of Israel, there was a family named Macabbee. Matthithias was the father and was a righteous, priest of the line of Aaron. He had 5 sons who were also righteous men. Now the Seleucids were taking over the land of Israel and their king Antiochus IV had conquered Yerushalayim. Now as if that wasn't bad enough, this king also put an altar on top of Papa's altar, and slaughtered pigs on that altar! He totally trashed the Temple, the house of the Father! Then he proceeded to terrorize and murder the Israelites, ruled that the practice of their faith was unlawful, and tried to burn all the scrolls. Matthithias was furious and vowed to destroy the Seleucids. He did a pretty good job, but he was old and died before the war was finished. So his sons took over. The eldest was Y'huda (Judas) Maccabee also known as the Hammer. Well, Y'huda and his brothers followed YHWH's ways faithfully and were strong leaders. So they fought the Seleucids and eventually won freedom for the Israelites and the land of Israel. This is all told in the apocryphal book named appropriately 1st Maccabbees. There are 4  books of the Maccabbees, but they were taken out of our modern Bibles a long time ago, and put with the other apocryphal books. (some of those are really COOL books! You should read them sometime.) Back to our story. The Maccabbees ruled wisely for many years, but eventually greed, corruption and forgetting YHWH took place and the Hasmonean Era ended with all the Maccabbees gone....sigh. Oh, I forgot the best part!!! Silly me.

So after Y'huda Maccabbee and his army had wrested Yerushalayim from the Seleucids, they cleansed the Temple, rebuilt the altar according the Mosaic Law, and reinstalled the Golden Menorah. They could only find one flask of consecrated oil to light the Menorah with. And it takes 8 days to prepare fresh oil. So they lit the Menorah with the oil they had, then left the Temple to go help prepare a fresh batch to keep the Menorah lit all the time as commanded in Exodus. Well, when they arrived back 8 days later....fully expecting the Menorah to not be lit anymore due to lack of oil.......guess what! It was STILL burning!  Now normally, the priests had to fill the Menorah's branches twice a day to keep it burning. But this time, it burned for 8 days with only one filling!!! Hence the phrase, "A great miracle occurred there" ("here" if you live in Israel). So during Hanukkah, we light one candle a night until we have all 8 candles burning taking us to the end of the 8 days festival. For those of us who know Yeshua, He's there too.....see there's a 9th candle that is only used to light the other candles. It's called the Shamash or Servant Candle....Aha! Did you catch that??? The Shamash is the servant represents Yeshua! Now, in our family, we exchange small gifts with each other each of the 8 nights with one night being a bigger gift. And we fry lots of foods to eat to represent the provision of the oil burning so long. If you've never experienced Hanukkah, it's LOADS of fun! There's latkes to eat, and sufnyiot (jelly donut like pastries), and chocolate gelt (like coins) and kugel (noodle dish to die for) and songs to sing, and dreidle to play....oh the fun!!!!!

So in among the other things going on....and there's a ton of them,(but that's for another post)....we've been having a blast celebrating Hanukkah. And as we're celebrating and reading the story of the Maccabees, we're also offering prayers that Papa would spread some of our joy into your lives, and bless you each with His Love. I'll try my best to post again soon....probably from Grandma's house at the end of the month and try to catch you up on all the other stuff. In the meantime, know I thank Papa for each of you my friends each day during my prayers and am SO blessed by having you in my life. Happy Hanukkah! Spitfire