Tuesday, December 04, 2007

First night

Right after sundown tonight I will be lighting two candles.
Before I begin, I will say a prayer:

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has given us holidays, customs and times of happiness, to increase the knowledge of God and to build us up in our most holy faith.

Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our spiritual fathers long ago in this season.

Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life and sustained us, and permitted us to reach this season again.

The first candle I light, the middle one, will be lit with a match.
It will become The Servant candle, and will be used to light the candle on the end of the candle holder.
As I light The Servant (The Shemash candle as it is said in Hebrew) I will recite the following:

Messiah Yeshua stated in Mark 10:44-45:

"Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be the servant of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many."

Then I will use The Servant candle to light the first candle of Hanukkah, saying:

Genesis 1: 3-4 describes the creation of the first light.

"God said: Let there be light," and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

With that, I will sit, and take pleasure in the light, not using the light to illuminate any work that I might do, but rather to enjoy and remember God and his marvelous creation.
While the candles are glowing, I will recall a time in history when God's people faced the desecration of all that they cherished: their ways and their worship of the One True God.
I will think about how at one time people of faith tried to bend to conform and fit in with the pagan's culture, right up to the moment when the godless (or actually, multi-pagan god worshippers) came into their Temple and tried to destroy it, and covered it with the filth of their pagan ways.

I will ponder and pray about my own time and my own people, all those who also call upon the name of Yeshua for salvation, those who worship the One True God.
I will ponder and pray that we all might be strengthened to stand against the evil of our days, and be willing to stand and fight against those who would seek to desecrate our ways of faith and worship.

For the next eight days I will be posting my thoughts and my prayers as I once again follow Jesus' example in John 10:22, where it was winter, and Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Dedication, which is the true name of Hanukkah. I'll be explaining about why Bernie and I light the candles, and why this time has meaning to us as Christians.

Feel welcome to join me if you wish. Or look into my cyberwindow to enjoy the candles; Jewish law suggests that the candles be lit and placed in a window so that all that pass by will see, and remember the deeds of our Mighty God Who Saves. I will be blessed knowing you saw my Hanukkah candles through this most modern of windows.

(PS: The name Jesus in Hebrew is Yeshua, and Yeshua is how you say Salvation in Hebrew. For an added blessing, go look for the word Salvation in any Biblical concordance. Then read the Old Testament passages that are translated "salvation", only this time use the word Jesus instead. I think you will be blessed and have a whole new way of feeling every time you read the word salvation in scripture.)


Lovella ♥ said...

Jill, your First Night post is very special. What a wonderful thing to pause and rest and observe.
Way too often we are too busy to spend time remembering that first night.

Vicki said...

Jill, thank you for inviting us to join you by looking through your [cyber]window and by praying and pondering with you and Bernie.

Like Lovella said, it is a good thing to pause, rest, and observe...and remember.

Jane Carlstrom said...

Hi Jill, Refreshing and peaceful article. So good infact, that I was prompted to share it with my sister. I ended up sharing it with her whole readership, because she just wrote one of her rare but precious articles on "The Daily Grind" http://www.blog.wesleyuc.org/?p=95

How fortunate for me to have you both in my life.

A more serene, Jane

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Thank you, Jill, for sharing this special celebration through your cyber window . . . I shall be looking through it for the next eight days so that I can learn more about Chanukah's meaning for us who follow Yeshua HaMashiach.

Anonymous said...

Your posting lit the candle of my heart tonight. Your service will inspire others to recognize the wonderous miracles God performs in us each day: coverning the defilement sin brings on us, with oil of His anointing. Thanks for bringing a bright spot into my life tonight. B

L&D said...

Oy Vey!

Anonymous said...

I'm so you found my blog and told me about your wonderful commentary on the days of chanukah! Thanks so much for sharing! I love your point about reading the bible and inserting "Jesus" for "salvation." In our church, we use the ESV translation, which is a "word for word" bible translation, unlike the NIV, which more focuses on the general phrases. That means that using a version like the ESV, you're more likely to get the right context for the substitutions (I'm an English teacher and get all wound up about this sort of thing). Blessings!

-Amy http://amyletinsky.wordpress.com