There is magic to the Hanukkah candle lights. The first night, the single flame standing so alone, the soft flicker, helped to bring forth its beauty by the shamash, the helper candle, suggestive to me of Yeshua. Just as with each candle, He is our helper in the deepest sense in all things, like the first light, bringing to us His strength when we are weak but when we are trying to do our best, when we are alone, when we may feel we have so much to say yet perhaps few, if any, may be around who listen. Still He fills us with His fire, His intensity, fueling our one-on-one relationship with him.
As your eyes absorb the beauty of each night’s light, I encourage you to remember the special light you bring to others. From that one small light we can see how bright the shine as Yeshua helps us, encourages us, strengthens us, fills us with His Light. Just as the glowing Chanukiah radiates warmth and light, so too, we are here to love others and radiate His Glory, His fiery powerful presence and at the same time, His inexplicable glowing, warm boundless love of us. We are reminded each night of that call to so serve, to share His Love by our words and actions. This is our highest calling.
Each day, no matter how busy, nor even how late, we look forward to fulfilling the responsibility and embracing the beauty of the deep tradition of lighting the Hanukkah lights, one by one. Each night’s experience grows stronger as the increasing number of candles builds on the intensity of each neighboring candle’s light. So too, do we amplify His message when we act in community with those who also feel His Love.
So many Chanukiahs! Such unique styles and family stories of how each one was acquired, some bought in Israel, others handed down within families, some found at thrift shops, others made in Shabbat School. There is no end to the preciousness of these recollections when our Jewish culture, tradition, and our faith are experienced palpably, meaningfully, reinforcing our relationship with our Abba.
These are the times that succeed in drawing us away from those many other times that separate us from Him and instead bring us His warm feeling of love. The candles’ lights separate us from the darkness. This particular tradition of lighting the Hanukkah candles – the time honored prayer, the coming together of our people all over the world united in this seemingly simple ritual, the mystical radiance of the tiny flames – brings not only a warm glow from the candles, but also, a palpable feeling of love, a Divine Love, something bigger than us, beyond our complete comprehension.
So this year, just the thought of the last night of Hanukkah coinciding with the world’s observance of the birth of Yeshua, December 25th, was an excitement hard to contain these past several weeks when I first had the realization. I have shared with you that I really don’t know what I’m going to write about in these Shabbat encouragements until I write them, ideas and events usually coming together just at the right time for them to be written. I was hoping, however, that a few ideas might pop up earlier this month so I could share this one today when the timing would be just right. And they did!
So let’s revel in this glory, now, of the beauty of this thought – As you light your candles these last few nights of Hanukkah, the glow deepening and at the same time brightening the room, close your eyes, just for a moment, to anticipate the glory of that last night, December 25th. Especially for we Jews who had waited for the Messiah, what a glorious symbol not only of the light we have been bringing over millennia to the world of belief in HaShem, the one God, but now, on that last night, the fully lit Chanukiah spectacularly aglow on the very day representative of the birth of Yeshua, His Son, bringing the light of Messiah to all. He brings forth the brightest light, the manifestation of the reality of His Presence in our world, today, now and always.
There it will be – all the candles aglow on the very day the world observes the birth of Yeshua. It doesn’t get much better than that!
One light has all of this power and beauty. How much moreso when the next two or three join, are gathered, as well. How beyond our human understanding when the lights shine together as when we go out filled in faith in Him in community with others to share the reality of His Presence.
In these days we need Him, here, with us. He is here, bringing us sign after sign for us to see, filling us if we have the eyes, ears, and hearts to receive. As you place your Chanukiahs in the window these last few nights sharing its light with those around you and to the world, this year, in particular, I hope you bask in the profound beauty of the extra meaningful glow on that last night celebrating the birth of Yeshua, our Messiah, our Savior. May that last night’s brilliance rekindle your fire in Him.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach.