Sunday, 17 December 2017
Chanukkah - coming from the root khet-nun-chaf - which means to instruct or initiate (Davidson), to rub, polish or finish (Jastrow) - this is the name of the festival starting on the 25th Kislev, almost always in December on the Gregorian calendar.
The word is found in Nehemiah's account of the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem (Ne 12:7); it is used for the dedication offerings brought by elders when the Tabernacle was first set up in the Wilderness (Nu 10:7); and it appears in the dedication of Solomon's Temple (2 Chr 7:9). It is, of course, found in the gospel of John (10:22-23) when Yeshua is in Jerusalem one winter during the festival.
The idea of a dedication, something being set apart for and committed to G-d clearly goes back a long time and is still being commemorated in this feast up until today. What can we see in the base meaning that can help us to dedicate ourselves in G-d's service? Do we need instruction or would a good rub and polish be more suitable? Do we have a smooth finish that will bring up a shine and be worth the effort of polishing, or are we a bit marked or tarnished? G-d has the answer: in Yeshua we can all be buffed up to a glorious shine, showing the glory of Messiah in His face shining through us.
As you light the candles for the last few nights of Hanukkah, look around you and see if you can see faces shining with G-d's glory - then try to shine back!