This year the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah starts on the Sunday preceding Christmas and finishes on Christmas day. Also known as the ‘Festival of Lights,’ Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrating the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the Second Century B.C. Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for ‘dedication’. Our Lord Himself went up to Jerusalem to the Temple to celebrate the festival of Hanukkah. We read in John 10:22-23, ‘Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.’
Nowadays, one of the things that the Jewish people do is to light a special Hanukkah lamp, called the ‘Hanukkiah’. On the first night, one candle (plus the ‘Servant’ candle, called the ‘shammash’) is lit.
On the second night, two candles plus the shammash are lit. This continues until nine candles are blazing on the final night. This is why Hanukkah is often called ‘the Festival of Lights’.
Isn’t it an interesting thought that, this year, on the last night of Hanukkah, when that final candle is lit, the lamp will be fully blazing with light. This will be on Christmas day, the same day that Jewish and Gentile believers all over the world will be celebrating the birth of the coming into this world of Jesus, the true light of the world.
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