Chag Sameach! I hope that you have been having a blessed festival of lights. A variety of readers follows this blog and not all of them are familiar with God’s appointed times and through this site I have the honor of sharing about my faith and its traditions.
The Celebration of Chanukah can also be known as “the festival of lights” or the “feast of dedication” and the holiday goes for eight consecutive days. Although it is commonly mistaken for being associated with the Christian celebration of Christ’s birth, it does not have any connections to Christmas. A practicing Jew would not observe Christmas because they would not see Yeshua as the Messiah. A practicing Messianic Jew (what I associate as) does celebrate the birth of Christ, however, not in December but during high holy days, specifically during Sukkot which is during the fall because this is when we believe that Christ was most likely born. Unlike Christmas, Chanukah does not have a set date that it is observed. It depends on the moon cycle. The starting date can fall of Christmas, but not every year. In 2016 it started on sundown on December 24 and ends on sundown, January 1, while in 2017 it will be December 12-20th.
This holiday has different perspectives that I could write about, but a few weeks ago God showed me which point of view I am supposed to write on.
The 2016 Celebration of Chanukah is unique because it started on Christmas Eve and goes until the American New Year. The Jewish or spiritual New Year was during the feast of Trumpets earlier this fall. The Jewish New Year is followed by other holidays within a short period of time and this is known as High Holy days and it is focused on self examination of one’s personal relationship with G-d.
For the American new year, many tend to make New Year resolutions to lose weight, work harder, “become a better person,” etc. We all hope that the New Year will be “better then the last year.” Gyms and health clubs have specials on joiner fees because most of us are determined to be “better” for this New Year and make plans on how to accomplish this. However, most do not stick to their plan and have given up by the time Valentine’s Day comes around.
My goal for 2017 is to have an article that I have written be shared in the format of some kind of print. It is not a resolution but a goal. Yet, I know that I will never be able to accomplish this if I don’t keep G-d first in my life because I can do little without Him, but through Him the possibilities of where I can/will go are endless. I know that some Messianic do not celebrate the American New Year the “traditional way” but I believe that one can learn different elements about G-d through Jewish holidays or ‘secular’ observation.
This year the Feast of Dedication ends on the first full day of the American New Year. My challenge for you is to examine what you are dedicating yourself to. Is your New Year’s resolution to lose weight to glorify God and take care of your body or is it to look better and is rooted in selfish desires? Is your desire to be promoted at work so that you look better in front of your peers or is it to fully commit yourself to HIM in every aspect of your life including your job? Are you wanting to change the way you have done your finances because you are exhausted from being in debt or to use the money that G-d has given you in a way that glorifies Him (in this case I believe that being exhausted from being in debt is a completely worthy cause). Whatever your goal may be, I encourage you to consider what your motives are and most importantly I hope that you continually dedicate your personal life and everything that you do in it for the TRUE light of the world. You will never be disappointed in the results, I promise. Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year. See you next year.