This past week in the midst of Christmas shopping, decorating, and memory making. We spent our time also learning about Hanukkah. Jesus celebrated Hanukkah (also known as the Festival of Lights) so why shouldn’t we celebrate it?
I have been thinking about the miracle of the oil all week. The Temple had been defiled in a horrible way. Antiochus claimed he was god and slaughtered a pig on the alter in the Holy of Holies. While they were cleansing the Temple they discovered that all the oil containers of the purified oil were smashed but one. It was important that the Temple be cleansed and rededicated. The Temple was the dwelling place of God. The Holy of Holies where God’s presence rested was in that building. With just enough oil left for the lamps to burn one day, they lit the lamps knowing that there wasn’t enough. It was important to light the lamp anyway; it was commanded that the lamp be continually lit. The lamp stayed lit for 8 days, this is how long it took for them to make more oil. It is like God making the gas in the car last until the next gas station even though you only had enough gas for one more mile and nearest station was 8 miles away.
God was honoring the hearts of His people. The temple had been defiled before, by their own kings even. So rededicating the Temple after it was so horribly defiled was not just a physical act but a spiritual act also. Our very body is God’s dwelling place. I see Hanukkah not only about celebrating the miracle of the oil and how God is faithful to provide, but also about the very act of cleansing our lives. Giving Him free reign in my life so His light can be continually lit in me. So as I seek to gain knowledge and understanding about something that happened more than 2000 years ago and how it applies to my life today. I am at awe by the significance of the whole celebration.