Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Hannukah!

Today is the first day of the Jewish celebration Hannukah (sometimes spelled "Chanukah" - Hebrew doesn't translate into English very well). This 8 day celebration means "Festival of Lights" and is celebrated by lighting candles. It commemorates the re-lighting of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees after it had been desecrated. The Seleucid dynasty, led by Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes (his name means "praise of God." The Jews altered it slightly calling him 'Epimanes' - "mad dog"), had taken the Temple and slaughter a pig on the altar, smearing pig grease throughout the facility. The Maccabees confronted the Seleucids and overthrew them, retaking the Temple, cleansing it and relighting the ritually pure olive-oil lamps contained therein. There was only enough oil for the lamps to burn for a day, but miraculously, they burned for eight days until a new supply could be obtained.
The ninth candle, in the center, is called the "shamash." It's used to light the others.

Generally speaking, this festival is always in December. The shame of this celebration of light is that although it foreshadows the "Light of the World", the people of the Jewish faith still live in darkness. Pray with me for the light of truth, given to us by Jesus Christ, grant illumination to their hearts.

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