I trust that you have enjoyed this Hanukkah overview and the eight lights of the Bible. Over the past seven days, we have looked at:
Day 1, The Light of Creation, the Adamic Covenant.
Day 2, The Light of the Rainbow, the Noahic Covenant.
Day 3, The Blazing Torch and Smoking Firepot, the Abrahamic Covenant.
Day 4, The Cloud by Day and Fire by Night, the Mosaic Covenant.
Day 5, The Star of David, the Davidic Covenant.
Day 6, The Star of the Maggi, A King is born.
Day 7, You are the Light of the World.
Tonight, we conclude our Hanukkah celebration with Day 8, “The Lamb of G_d, the light of heaven.” Let’s begin by lighting the middle candle in your Menorah, the shamash, and all eight candles on your menorah. Notice how brilliant your menorah looks as it sparkles and glows with radiant light.
1. Jesus, the light of the world. Read John 1:1-13. John, the author, is telling us that John the Baptist came to testify and prepare the way for “the light.” Who is John the Baptist talking about? Jesus answers this question once and for all in John 8:2. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus goes on to make an amazing promise to all who believe that in him as their Lord and Savior. John 14:1-13. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in G_d; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Have you ever wondered what heaven will look like? Well we get a small glimpse in the book of Revelation about its design. Read on and you might be a amazed about how it will be illuminated.
3. The Lamb of G_d the light of heaven. Read Revelation 21-22. What an amazing place and do you notice what the light of heaven is? The glory of G_d and the Lamb is the lamp. No sun. No stars. No lights to switch on or off. The glory of G_d and the Lamb who is the “Lamp” will provide all the light needed for the whole of heaven for a very long time, like much longer than eight days. The “Lamp”. Doesn’t that remind you of something? The Maccabees!
Which brings us full circle in our celebration of Hanukkah. For when you think about it, the Maccabees fought long and hard for years to cleanse the land, the Jewish people and the temple from sin for one main purpose . . . so they could relight the “lamp” in the Holy Place. They risked their lives so that the “lamp” could burn continually as a sign of G_d’s presence among his people. In similar fashion, G_d is at work today to cleanse the world and its people from sin so that his light can shine forth continually as the “Lamp” both now upon this earth and in the New Jerusalem to come.
Which brings us full circle throughout the whole of scripture as well. For as we saw on the first night of Hanukkah, scripture begins in Genesis with G_d saying, “let there be light.” Then tonight on the last night of Hanukkah, we have seen in Revelations how the whole of scripture ends with G_d being “the light.” A light that will shine forth not just for eight days, but for all eternity. What a miracle of light that will be.
As you finish up your celebration of Hanukkah, tonight might be a great opportunity to have a family dinner and play dreidels one last time. Include in your meal the latke recipe that I shared at the beginning. You will find it on www.kingarthurflour.com and look for “Oven latkes with applesauce.” These latkes will transform any meal into a festive celebration.
4. Tikkun Olam – “To repair the world.” One final thought that I wish to leave you with as the candles on your menorah burn themselves out. G_d invites all of us to tabernacle with him in bringing his light to the world around us. A world that is so desperately in need of light, hope and healing, or as in Hebrew we say, “Tikkun Olam”, which means “to repair the world.”
And to think that G_d started to “tikkun olam” with a promise all the way back in Genesis 3 to send a baby boy to be born of a virgin some 4000 years later. A baby boy that would one day make salvation and healing possible for all mankind. I wonder if Mary knew what it would mean to be the mother of Jesus, G_d’s own son? Click on the link and listen to the song, Mary did you know? Let’s consider it together as we end our time together.
From our family to yours, Happy Hanukkah and Shalom.
photo by D. Mike Collins