You have heard of the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, here is a creative twist on the old adage. When terrorists fire rockets at you, make a Hanukkah candle holder. The picture above shows a chanukiah, which is the nine candle menorah used to celebrate Hanukkah. The Qassam rockets fired into Israel from Gaza are the actual candles. Hallelujah! This holiday is also called the Festival of Lights, and the Feast of Dedication.
It commemorates the historic victory of the Jewish Maccabees over the Greeks about 150 years before Jesus came. Doreen’s first children’s book, How Hanukkah Saved Christmas, explains how critically important was the victory. If the Greeks had succeeded to annihilate all Jews and destroy the Temple, there would be no Christmas. The Messiah had to be a Jew and it was prophesied that He would enter the Temple. No Jews, no Temple, equals no Messiah.
Why are there nine candles instead of the seven candle Menorah used at all other times? Eight candles represented the miracle eight day supply of oil when there was only enough Kosher oil for one day. It took a week to sanctify more oil. The ninth candle is called the shamas or servant, which is used to light the others each day of the eight day celebration.
The spiritual meaning of Hanukkah is even more amazing. Jesus is the shamas, or servant candle, that lights all the others and was pictured by Isaiah as the suffering servant in Isaiah 53:10-11 NLT. He called Himself a servant in Mark 10:45 NLT. Of course the oil represents the Holy Spirit (ruach haKodesh), but the overall emphasis is a celebration of light. What a great preparation for the Messiah, Who is the Light of the World! Another name for this holiday is the Feast of Dedication, because they had to rededicate the Temple, setting it apart as holy, after the Greeks desecrated it. Christians should pay attention to the prophetic value of celebrating this holiday with our families and our Jewish friends.
John’s Gospel makes a point of recording the fact that Jesus even observed Hanukkah in His last visit to Jerusalem before His death and resurrection at Passover the following Spring.