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Hanukkah Day 7, “Those walking in darkness have seen a great light.”

DSC007811.  Lighting your Menorah.  Tonight we continue our celebration of Hanukkah.  Let’s begin by lighting the middle candle in your Menorah, the shamash, and seven candles on your menorah.

2.  Those walking in darkness have seen a great light.  Read Matthew 4:12-17.  The gospel writer Matthew is describing the ministry of Jesus as a fulfillment of prophesy from Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Genesis opens with G_d creating light within a dark space.  Here the ministry of Jesus is described as light coming into a dark space.  Within his ministry, Jesus keeps his message very simple, “Repent, for the kingdom of G_d is near?”  Have you come to a place of repentance in your life?

3.  The Transfiguration.  Read Matthew 17:1-13.  Here we have Jesus transfigured into a blaze of light and enveloped in a cloud.  What do these two symbols remind you of?  How about the blazing torch and smoking firepot from the Abrahamic Covenant.  How about cloud by day and fire by night from the Mosaic Covenant.  These two symbols continue to reoccur all throughout scripture to describe to us the nature and character of G_d and we are not done yet.  There is more light to come.

4.  Walking in the Light.  1 John 1:5-9  “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Have you confessed your sins to G_d?  Why not begin right now?  In the quietness of your own heart, confess your sins to G_d and ask him to cleanse you because of the death and resurrection of His son Jesus on your behalf.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

5.  Tongues of Fire.  Read Acts 2:1-13.  Here we have the Holy Spirit coming upon the new Jewish believers in Jesus and how does he reveal himself?  As tongues of fire or light.  Now we have all three persons of the G_d-head revealed in scripture using the symbology of light.  Amazing.

6.  You are the Light of the Word.  Read Matthew 5:14-17 “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl, instead they put it on its stand so it gives light to everyone in the room.  In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

In what ways is your life a light to those around you?  If you are married, think of how your spouse has been a blessing to others.  If you are a parent, take some time to think how your children have been a blessing to others.  If you are single, thing about how your friends have been a blessing.   Then tell them these specific stories in front of your friends our family.  Public praise is a powerful relationship builder.

Encourage all the members of your family to brag on all the other members of your family in front of everyone.  You might be amazed how public praise and blessing affects the atmosphere of your home.  It will be like a . . . well . . . light . . . came into your home to shine brightly within your midst.  I know it does for our family when we bless each other during Shabbat each week.  I pray that G_d’s light will shine within your midst and family during this Hanukkah season as well.

Complete your seventh night of Hanukkah by singing one or two of your favorite carols as you let the Hanukkah candles burn themselves out.  We have almost completed our Hanukkah celebration and looking at the eight lights of the Bible.  One more night to go.

From our family to yours, Happy Hanukkah and shalom.

photo by D. Mike Collins


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