Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Something to Really Celebrate

My girls love being artsy, especially Hope.

Chanukah (Hanukkah)is just a few days away and the kids and I are enjoying making some decorations. So I thought I would share a few pics.

If you have never read about what the feast or celebration of Hanukkah is, you should check it out here. This is a wonderful account of the history.

Here is my quick version;  way back in the time of Alexander the Great (about 200 BC), Alexander and his minions began to take over the world and every new territory they took they commanded those people to  speak, think and act like a Greek... or else.
 So, you can imagine how they felt about the Jews; those bacon-hating, Torah-adoring people who served only ONE God. They hated them.

There were some Jews who compromised, thought they ought to assimilate and become like these Greeks; bought into all the lies... but there were many who would not compromise.

About 175 BC, Antiochus IV declared himself "Epiphanes", which means "god manifest". He made statues of himself and demanded everyone worship him.

Justice loves the Star or Shield of David.
He brought a gymnasium into Jerusalem.
He slaughtered thousands of Jews and had the arrogent disregard to enter the Holy Temple, stealing the gold and silver, including the incense altar, the table, and the menorah. He turned the Temple in Jerusalem into a temple of Zeus and anyone living in the territories he had taken over had to worship him and his gods.

 How horrible this time must have been for the God-fearing people of Israel. If you were caught eating Kosher, circumsizing your sons or reading the Torah, you were killed.

But many in Israel were determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean; they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. Terrible affliction was upon Israel. (1 Maccabees 1:54–64)
But the people who know their God will display strength and take action.  (Don't you LOVE THIS?)
(Daniel 11:32)

An elderly man named Mattiyahu could take it no more and sent out word to all his fellow brothers, 
"Let everyone who is zealous for the Torah and who stands by the covenant follow after me!”  
       (1 Maccabees 2:27).
Grace painting her menorah painting and
Mercy's "God of Miracles" painting.
He, his family and other courageous brothers fled into the mountains and were soon followed by other brave, God-fearing men, where they formed a small army.
Mattiyahu was old and actually died in the mountains but his son Judah rose up and took charge of the army; "Engaging in guerilla warfare against the Syrian occupation force, Yehudah (Judah) and his freedom fighters came to be called 
Maccabees which means “Hammers.” Judah would forever after be known as Yehudah the Maccabee: Judah the Hammer." (FFOZ Hanukkah and the Disciples of Zion)

In a miraculous victory the small band of Maccabees clobbered the Greek army that came against them until they actually took Jerusalem back!

When the Maccabees found the Temple in such a horrific state, they immediately began to restore it, they tore down the altars to Zeus and returned the pure and precious - rededicating it to the Holy One.

They found some oil to burn in the menorah but it was only enough for one day, but they decided to light it and send someone to get more, thinking it would burn out after one day.
 But then another miracle happened, the light in the menorah kept burning and burned for EIGHT days!

Hanukkah is the Feast of Dedication; celebrating a God who performs miracles and gives light.

 I am so inspired by the intrepid courage these people had to fight for the Truth, to fight for Torah, for what is undefiled, pure and righteous. To not allow anyone to make them turn from God, His instructions and His name, even if it cost them their own lives and their children's lives. What a story. What a beautiful reason to celebrate and light our own menorah.

AND even Yeshua (Jesus) went all the way to Jerusalem to participate in the celebration as well. (See John 10:22-39).

Yeshua is the LIGHT of the world and He told us to be the light of the world too. 

And if you are curious as to why we are not celebrating Christmas.... well, here is a really fascinating video to explain that, just go here and watch "Truth or Tradition".

Why celebrate a holiday rooted deep in terrible pagan rituals when you can celebrate an amazing God-centered feast like Hanukkah - where even Yeshua Himself celebrated.

Heart-peace; Shalom to you all!