As I write this today, it is the eighth day of Chanukkah. Happy Chanukkah! Our party is tomorrow evening (Dec. 6–yes, outside of Chanukkah but the Friday during Chanukkah was the day after Thanksgiving–weird). We currently have many RSVPs and among them many Jewish people who have yet confessed faith in Y’shua. I know you are reading this after the fact, but God does hear our prayers outside of space and time, so please pray for them, that as they have heard (and often have from us) about the real miracle of Chanukkah that they would receive Him who is their light and their salvation.
So why was Chanukkah so early this year? On one hand, it isn’t. It’s still 25 Kislev! But remember, the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar corrected during a 19 year cycle to keep seasons in their right months, whereas the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. All of this can be very confusing but suffice it to say that it is odd when Chanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving. But even though Chanukkah is over, it is still appropriate to send a card to your Jewish friends this season. And now you can probably get Chanukkah cards at a discount! And a suggestion for the inside of the card might read, “I pray that you were blessed this Chanukkah season with the true miracle of Chanukkah, Y’shua, a light to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel.”
Hopefully you will be asked how Y’shua is the true miracle of Chanukkah. So I’ll tell you…Chanukkah is all about Jesus. The true miracle of Chanukkah is that God preserved His people, again, against incredible odds, so that from their cradle, 200 years later, Jesus would be celebrating Chanukkah when the Jews asked him, “If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” And He did! You can read about this in John 10.
This is the season to think about Christmas too. But the other day, my 7 year-old granddaughter put it all in perspective. I think she was thinking about my sermon for the 1st Sunday of Advent. As we were driving along, a little voice from the back seat asked, “Grumpy, why does everyone skip over Chanukkah and Advent and go right to Christmas?” It was a rhetorical question because she then went on, “You need time to prepare. That would be like making a cake without flour, water or time.”
Yes, she watches Cake Boss, and wants a private baking lesson from Buddy in Hoboken, but she’s right. As we look forward to Christmas, let’s not skip over Chanukkah and Advent. After all, they really help us prepare for Christmas. Happy Chanukkah, blessed Advent season and Merry Christmas! Oy, it’s a busy month…so enjoy.