In the Northern Hemisphere, the ninth and tenth months are the darkest of the year – the nights are longer than any other time. In the Southern Hemisphere, they are the lightest season of the year – the days are longer than any other time.
But the winter solstice always falls this time of year. The winter solstice is the day the light and dark begin to reverse. In the Northern hemisphere the days start getting longer; in the Southern hemisphere the nights start getting longer.
It’s a contrast of extremes – It gets darker and darker until, on one day, it stops, and begins to get lighter and lighter. On our Gregorian calendar that day is always December 21. (more…)
The following resources are provided as a guide for celebrating the eight days of Chanukah in your home.
Most people identify Hanukkah celebrations with being Jewish. And with eight days of lighting an extra-long menorah (chanukkiah), eating extra oily potatoes (latkes), playing a game using Hebrew letters (Dreidel), it’s no wonder.
But don’t let its Jewish symbols fool you. Hanukkah is the perfect celebration for anyone who’s ever wished for good to overcome evil, a minority of principled people to triumph over a powerful, oppressive empire, a restoration of crushed cultural traditions, a chance to clear out the bad memories and start anew, and recommit to living by their values and beliefs. (more…)
Hanukkah — or Chanukah as it’s sometimes spelled, typically falls sometime in December. I had heard of it, but didn’t actually know what it celebrated. So one day I decided to look into it. If you’re at that point, I can save you some time.
It turns out, it’s really not the Jewish version of Christmas. It’s not even the most important Jewish holiday. It just happens to usually fall between America’s biggest holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — so we end up throwing it in with the majors. Not to say that what’s celebrated is not a big deal. Here’s what I found out… (more…)
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
I find no evidence that this passage was originally about Hanukkah. It’s meant as a prophecy about Israel in the Millennial Age. But as I was contemplating the Hanukkah candles, this verse came to mind.
Then as I read verses 2-3, I realized how much this really parallels the idea of the Hanukkah candles:
“See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Isaiah 60:2-3
I decided to take a closer look at this passage and some of the Hanukkah themes that it contains. (more…)
In my first blog about Hanukkah, I explored how the Hanukkah candles symbolize our light in the world and how we partner with God to bring light to the darkness. Our focus was on Isaiah 60:1-3. As I continued my research into the Hebrew words used in Isaiah 60:1, it gave me a deeper understanding into my true power as a light in the world.
Isaiah 60:1 reads, “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.” In a literal Hebrew translation, this would read: “Arise-you! light-up-you! That he-came light-of you and glory-of Yahweh on you he-is-radiant.”
The Hebrew seemed to be a much stronger statement, especially the idea that Yahweh is radiant upon us. (more…)