We asked some of our Jewish Voice staff this question. We hope their answers encourage you as you approach the Chanukah season. What about you? How does Chanukah inspire your own faith?
I love gathering as a family each night of Chanukah and lighting the candles. I am inspired when I see my kids light the Shamash (Servant Candle) and then light the other candles from this first candle. I think of the calling we have both to serve others and to be a light set on a hill. The lighting of the Chanukah menorah each night reminds us, and especially our kids, to remember their God-given calling to these pursuits.
— Jonathan Bernis, President & CEO
When I think about the miracle of Chanukah, I’m in awe of the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness toward us. When circumstances seem impossible, He always makes a way. During the Feast of Dedication, Chanukah, I love to search my heart and re-dedicate my life to the Lord in thankfulness for all He has done.
— Anna, Partner Service
Now that I have the chance to learn more about Jewish holidays like Chanukah and even celebrate them as a Believer in Jesus, I find that the door to fellowshipping with my Jewish friends has burst open in a whole new way. With Jewish Believers, we can strengthen our faith together in a way I haven’t experienced before. With Jewish non-believers, celebrating Chanukah helps me understand them a bit more and allows me to show them the Messiah as I celebrate with them. It’s exciting and also humbling, as it’s a new and different way that I can worship the Lord personally and get to know Him better.
— Abigail, Marketing
One of the things I didn’t know about Chanukah before coming to work at Jewish Voice is that gifts are given each day. I love gifts! It doesn’t have to be anything big, but I just love the idea that someone thought enough to bless you with something. It reminds me that God’s mercies are new every morning, as Lamentations 3:22-23 says. God desires to give His kids good gifts. The miracle that the candles stayed lit for eight days also inspires me. God is our provider and sustainer. In Him, we have everything we need.
— Carolyn, Partner Engagement
Chanukah reminds me that God is faithful to overcome the darkness with His love and light. Even if there is darkness in your life, your work or community, He lights it up. The darkness is as light to Him.
— Aviva, Congregation & Leadership Development
Although taking back the Temple is an important part of Chanukah, the single day of oil lasting eight days reminds me that God is my provider and always will be. In retrospect, there were numerous times in my life when, by all calculation, there just was not enough. Nevertheless, the food, the money, or whatever was provided and was always more than enough. This is how Chanukah inspires my faith. It reminds me that I will always be provided for – because I serve King Yeshua, who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
— Coreena, Finance
The word Chanukah itself speaks to me each season because it means “dedication.” Every Chanukah, I look at my life to see if I am truly dedicating it to the Lord, especially concerning my heart-trust and obedience. At Chanukah, I remember: He is looking not at my outward deeds but the purity of my heart and thoughts before Him. The cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem after it had been defiled speaks to the cleansing of my own heart, motives and aspirations. I remember that I am the temple of the Holy Spirit and that it’s time to re-dedicate myself to Him again, removing idols and allowing His holiness to burn on the altar of my heart. My favorite song during this season is “Chanukah” by Marty Goetz. I can’t listen to it without it becoming the prayer and cry of my heart and a reason to focus on what the Lord desires of each of us.
— Angela, Congregation & Leadership Development
I have learned that flickering candlelight represents victory in a battle. So, my takeaway is that, with prayer and reliance on the Lord, just like with the Maccabees, we, too, can have victory over the battles in our lives.
— Kristy, Partner Engagement
What connects for me is the oil used to rededicate the Temple to the Lord. There was such a process to making the oil that it wasn’t possible to simply go get more. While some may have been worrying about not having enough, others lit the wicks in full faith that the Lord would provide. Sometimes it seems like we have so little and don’t know how we’ll go on in the next few days. It can be hard to let go of the worry, to praise the Lord for what we have in the “right now” and trust Him to make everything come together. But when we do, we open ourselves up for God to reveal Himself and His provisions. It isn’t about abundance; it is about having everything we need by simply trusting Him to provide it.
— Holly, Partner Service
For me, Chanukah is all about the light. Lighting the chanukiah each of the eight nights reminds me that Jesus gets brighter and brighter as the nights get darker and darker. Although I'm not Jewish, I love partaking in the lighting of the candles. Often our chanukiah is right next to a Christmas tree which is bright with light as well. If I have friends or family come over, I always love explaining the "combo" package in context. It gives me an opportunity to explain the Jewishness of my Christian faith!
—Tom, Broadcast Productions
I used to think of Chanukah as a Jewish holiday that had nothing to do with Christianity, that it was the Jewish version of Christmas. I see now that Jesus, as a Jewish man, celebrated Chanukah and the miracles His Father did for the Israelites through the Maccabees. As I think about what God did then, I’m reminded that He still performs miracles today. We just have to open our eyes and wait in expectation. He will show up.
— Mary, Marketing
There is so much about Chanukah that inspires my faith. The courage of the Maccabees who refused to bow to a false god and fought, outnumbered as they were, to regain possession of the Temple. (How bold am I to defend my God’s honor?) The priests’ eagerness to rededicate the defiled Temple and how they didn’t even want to wait for more oil to be purified. (How eager am I to rededicate myself to God?) Their faith: they didn’t have enough oil for the lampstand to burn more than a day, but they lit it anyway. And God took their “not enough” – offered in faith – and did a miracle with it. (What “not enough” of mine does He want me to offer Him?) That we can see Jesus – the Light of the World – in Chanukah as the “servant candle” who gives us His light and life. (How am I reflecting His light into the darkened world?) Chanukah encourages me to consider all these things.
— Judi, Marketing
Matthew 5:14-16 says, “We are the light of the world...” I pray we are people who mirror and shine with the presence of the Lord Jesus in everything we say and do! When we shine with His light in our lives, our obedience to Him and our right choices are better illuminated and will bring Him glory and honor.
— Oralena, Partner Engagement
Chanukah reminds me how much the Lord loves us and gives us a chance to show others His heart through us. I will never forget when four of us celebrated Chanukah and the Lord’s love in Vienna after Jewish Voice’s International Festival of Jewish Music in Poland.
— Joe, Facilities and Transportation
Chanukah reminds me that God honors the “little.” The seemingly insignificant act of obedience is great. The tiny mustard seed of faith stirs the Lord’s heart to move on our behalf. The short prayer on my way to school drop-off matters. The smallest investment of our financial resources, given with a glad heart, is multiplied in abundance. The minuscule amount of oil that is only expected to burn for a short while keeps going – and so does the faithfulness of our Lord.
Chanukah also reminds me that the Lord provides communal miracles. We can grab hold of this for our congregations, schools, workplaces, nations, ministries, etc. As a collective group of Believers, we can share in the awe and wonder of miracles at the Lord’s hand. We can celebrate them with one another and feel mutually encouraged by them. We can stir each other to remember the miracle and what God has done – believing that He can do it again.
— Esther, Congregation & Leadership Development
Although there are many things that stand out for me about Chanukah – including what a beautiful reminder it is of God’s love, faithfulness, and power – the precious gift of His Son, Yeshua (Jesus), stands out for me the most. Much like each candle of the chanukiah is lit by the Shamash, the Servant Candle, Jesus came to serve and is the Light of the World. His Holy Spirit lives in each of us as His followers, and His light shines in us, declaring to the world, He is Lord!
— Stacey, Partner Service