This year Hanukkah and Advent Sunday shared the same 1st day, 2nd December.
My church always remembers children who need help by holding a Christingle Service and collecting gifts for the Children’s Society (Church of England,)on Advent Sunday some of our Christingles are pictured.
The orange represents the world, the red ribbon the Blood of Jesus, the four cocktail sticks with sweets and nuts, the fruits of the earth and four seasons, the candle the light of the world ~ Jesus.
New toys were also bought to the same Service and blessed before they are distributed to local children in families in need. True, good faith works, does, acts, as well as believes. And, who knowing how much our Heavenly Father loves us can ignore the needs of others ~ not enough is it, to wish someone a happy Christmas without contributing to their happiness? No we have to help our Father and gift wrap His love.
Advent Sunday marks the start of a new Liturgical Year when the cycle of church lessons and readings begins again, as we read again from the Old Testament the witness God made beforehand through the prophets of the coming of Jesus into the world, to be the Glory of His people Israel and to be a light to the gentiles, so it seems to me that in His Light we truly see light and desire the light, joy and peace of His Presence to pierce the darkness of the world which ‘knows Him not’ and those who are impoverished, hurting or sorrowful, remembering that sometimes the one who growls like a bear, and is always angry or has a sour disposition is like that, because they have suffered or are suffering at the hands of others.
Advent is our wake-up call, it shouts, rather than whispers that we should wake-up now, and take stock of the oil we have in our jars for our lamps, in order to be ready when the bridegroom comes, and about our Christian duties as His servants when Christ returns.
Hanukkah (Chanukah) remembers the purification of the Temple and its rededication in 165BC (you can read about it in the books of Maccabees included in the Apocrypha), The temple had been defiled by Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes who sacrificed a pig on the altar and poured its blood on the Scripture Scrolls. The Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks was a miracle of God’s deliverance, but Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights remembers another miracle the provision of oil for the eternal light in the Temple. After its cleansing, it was found that there was only one days supply of oil to relight the eternal flame, the symbol of God’s presence .. but the Lord gave another miracle and the flame burned for the eight days necessary to purify new oil.
Then as now, the Lord our God provides and will send His Holy Spirit to those who ask, His Son and Servant, our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world in order to light the lamps and candles of all who would serve God with a true heart, just as the shammash (servant candle of the nine branched hanukkiyah) is used to light the other eight each night of Hanukkah… only Jesus lights us for eternity.
‘Shine, Jesus, shine,
Fill this land with the Father’s glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze,
Set our heart’s on fire,
Flow, river, flow,
Flood the nations with grace and metcy;
Send forth your Word, Lord,
And let there be light,
(Graham Kendrick (b. 1930)
May Jesus the Glory of His people Israel the Light of the Nations (Gentiles) fill us all with the Father’s glory.