First night of Channukah
Tonight is the first night of Channukah. Channukah is a celebration of the victory of Judas Maccabees over the Greek/Syrian Emperor who had desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing a pig to Zeus on the altar. The rebellion eventually threw out the Syrian overlords and reconsecrated the Temple.
The Channukah festival of lights, which Jesus himself celebrated (John 10:22-30) recalls the legend how, when it came to light the menorah in the Temple again, there was only enough oil available for one day’s burning. However, that oil lasted 8 whole days (Sabbath to the next Sabbath – oil burning for 8 times it’s normal time is generally considered a miracle) so each day in Channukah you light the servant candle in the middle first (the “shamash” candle) and then one extra candle starting from the right. Today therefore we light two candles, the Shamash and the first of the eight.
The Shamash candle reminds us that Jesus came not to be served but to serve. He is the light of the world, the one whom the darkness can never put out. His life is also intrinsically tied into the Channukah celebrations as I’ll explain over the next few days. In the meantime, we pray the prayers below, get out our potato-cakes and, if you’re so minded, have a listen to the track below from Aviad Cohen, a Messianic Jew.
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe who has sanctified us through Jesus, and as Jesus did, we light the candles of Channukah
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe who performed has miracles for your people, and Who gave us the “light of the world,” Jesus.
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season,
in Jesus’ Name, Amen