December 3, 2010


One Semester we were studying the life of Jesus in our Monday night class.  That same semester, in another section, we were studying the Temple and Jewish feasts.  Developing a deeper understanding of these holidays gave so much more meaning and understanding to many things in the New Testament.  This was especially true for Passover and Chanukkah.  Once I realized what was happening in the temple when Jesus stood up and stated, "I am the Light of the world" during the feast of lights (known as Chanukkah) the full impact of His statement finally hit home in a way that literally took my breath away.

I always knew that Jesus is the Light of the world as He gives truth and truth is light.  Growing up in a Catholic family and taught in Catholic schools, I always had the picture that his statement was all honky dory and everyone was just thrilled to hear his news and open their arms.  It never quite made sense when later on I would hear how everyone wanted to kill him, when in my mind everyone just loved Him and welcomed his message as we all do, right?  

Before this study I didn't have an inkling as to how that statement must have really been taken or the bold words He really spoke.  Here they were celebrating the miracle of God keeping the light burning.  Eight days of celebrating, praise and worship that had built up to the climax of the last night of the feast.  Then they light these enormous candelabra and this fellow that no one knows anything about stands up in this vast crowd and says, "I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!"  As if to say look at me not to the oil lamps for "I AM THE GOD THAT WROUGHT THAT MIRACLE!  I AM THE MESSIAH!  LOOK NO FURTHER!"   

Not at all what I had thought for so many years.  We decided we wanted to teach our children the in and outs of the feasts that were such an intricate part of Jesus upbringing and life.  Our hope being that as they grow up and we teach them the scriptures and Bible history they would have the right idea.  As Christians it is easy to forget that Jesus was a Jew. In fact, someone pointed out that Christianity was a Jewish religion.  Interesting way to look at it.  

In celebrating Chanukkah we don't do anything fancy.  We cook some kosher dishes (which all seem to be fried in oil)
light a menorah at dinner and talk about the history of the feast, what it meant to the Jewish people of the Bible and how it related to Jesus ministry.  This year the kids were really excited about it, though.   
This year the kids were really excited about it, though.   They really get a kick out of playing the dreidl game, which had nothing to do with the festival of lights but does have an interesting link to Jewish history.
  Of course, what kids doesn't get a thrill out of any game that awards them chocolate?
Anyway, just a little glimpse into our world.

Until next time,


1 comment :

  1. Beautiful memories you are making, my friend!