Hanukkah and Jesus Christ, the Light of the World: “I and the Father are one”

“When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the lord.”- Luke 2:22

Simeon holds Jesus aloft and proclaims the Child is the promised Light of the World. Now Jesus will replace the Menorah, the seven-branched lamp stand which to the Jews was the symbol of the presence of God’s light. Jesus is dressed in green priestly vestments: green is the symbol of hope. To complete the ritual of purification, forty days after the birth, Mary and Joseph offer two turtle doves as the sacrificial gift of the poor.

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The feast of Hanukkah lasts eight days because Judas Maccabaeus wanted to imitate King Solomon. After all, Solomon had dedicated the original temple during the eight-day feast of Tabernacles. However, the feast of Tabernacles falls in the month of Tishri, not Kislev. Instead of waiting another ten months, Judas Maccabaeus decreed that a new eight-day festival be created in imitation of the festival of Tabernacles, beginning on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The book of 2 Maccabees records that Judas Maccabaeus instituted the eight-day festival because, “Solomon also kept the eight days,” when the original Temple was dedicated (2 Macc 2:12).

The Jewish Talmud offers another tradition to explain the eight days of Hanukkah. When the Jews recaptured Jerusalem from the tyrannous Greeks, the Jewish priests did not have enough oil to keep the Temple’s menorah lit. There was only enough sacred oil to burn for one day and it would take at least a week to mix a fresh supply of holy oil. Yet, the one-day supply of holy oil lasted for eight days by a divine miracle. For this reason, faithful Jews light the menorah during the eight days of the festival.

Many Christians are unaware of these connections. As a result, they miss the important “Hanukkah message” of Christ in John’s Gospel. The presence of Christ at the Temple during Hanukkah is important because Hanukkah recalled how the Maccabees dedicated the Temple after the Greeks had defiled it. However, the presence of God’s glory did not manifest itself at the re-dedication of the Maccabees and fill the Temple as it did in the days of King Solomon. Since the time of the Maccabees, God had not inhabited the Temple as He had before the Jews’ Babylonian exile. The presence of Christ in the Temple at Hanukkah shows that God’s presence had once again entered to the Temple.

It was the feast of the Dedication [i.e. Hanukkah] at Jerusalem. It was winter and Jesus was walking in the Temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us openly” (Jn 10:22-24).

It was during Hanukkah that Christ answered them by boldly proclaiming: “I and the Father are one” (Jn 10: 30). Christ entered into the Temple at the feast of Hanukkah and presented himself as the God of Israel. His enemies immediately understood His claim in light of Hanukkah’s significance. We know this because they took up stones to stone him and said “we stone you for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself to be God” (Jn 10:31-33). Hence, the festival of Hanukkah serves as a sign of Christ’s fulfillment of the Temple and the entire Old Covenant. Jesus was not only a gifted rabbi from Nazareth—He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As it turns out, Jesus’ relationship with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the righteous of the Old Testament sheds light on why Catholic Christians honor and revere the saints.

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Comments on Christmas from Ben Stein

benstein

Ben Stein on Christmas:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

On a similar note:

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay..

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

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Submitted by Norma H.