December 3, 2011
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.(KJV) Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (KJV) John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of dedication and it was winter.(Hanukkah - The Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication)
Seems like just five minutes ago we put away all the Christmas decorations and cards from 2010, and here we are in just a blink of an eye at another Christmas. Is time speeding up or is it my age that seems to make every day go faster than the day before? Yes, it's upon us again, the season of "Black Friday," the frenzy of shopping madness, the joy of family gatherings, the food, the celebrations, the parties, the decorations, church services, and the tiny spark of truth as to why we celebrate the Judeo-Christian Holy Days that arrive at this time every year, the real meaning of the season.
Hanukkah or Chanukah
Hanukkah, is the eight day long Festival of Lights, and is one of the most joyous times of the Jewish year. The reason for the celebration is twofold (both dating back to 165 BC):
• The miraculous military victory of the small, ill-equipped Jewish army (Maccabees) over the ruling Greek Syrians, who had banned the Jewish religion and desecrated the Temple;
• The miracle of the small cruse of consecrated oil, which burned for eight days in the Temple's menorah instead of just one.
The celebration is not only the Festival of Lights to commemorate the oil lasting for eight days instead of just one, but also the Feast of Dedication inasmuch as the Temple was rededicated after its destruction. (John 10:22) Chanukah means dedication. It commemorates the day the Holy Temple (this was the second temple) was re-dedicated after the defeat of Antiochus. The war was fought because King Antiochus marched into Judea with his soldiers and wanted all the Jews either to be killed, or to become Hellenists (a religion that includes mostly Greek customs, along with some Jewish customs).
Antiochus made terrible laws against the Jews which prevented them from following most of their customs. A statue of Antiochus was erected in the Jewish temple and the Jews were ordered to bow down before it. The Ten Commandments forbid Jews to worship statues or idols so they refused. Antiochus, the Syrian King and his army destroyed the Jewish Temple almost completely, and put pigs (which Jews are not allowed to eat) and idols all around it and stole holy vessels. A small group of Jews called Maccabees rebelled and after a three year war they recaptured Jerusalem from the Syrians. The Temple was all but destroyed.
The Jews had to clean and repair the Temple, and when they were finished they rededicated it to God. They did this by lighting the lamp (Menorah) - which was a symbol of God's presence. Only one small jar of oil was found, enough to last only one day, but miraculously the lamp stayed alight for eight days. Hanukkah is not one of the larger Jewish Holy Days, but it is a joyous celebration nonetheless and falls close to the Christmas season nearly every year.
Christ Mass and Messiah's Birth
Those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Saviour and as the Messiah who was promised in a number of verses throughout the Old Testament celebrate his birth every December 25th. Yes, I know Jesus wasn't really born on December 25th and I know all about the pagan holiday that occurred then, so don't write me e-mails regarding same. That is not what this missive is about. It is about the Joy of the Season and the celebration of God's Love for us by sending His Son to Die for Our Sins as the FINAL SACRIFICE!
And it was prophesied and promised...
Upon Miriam’s (Mary) greeting to Elisheva, (Elizabeth) Elisheva responds to Miriam, calling her "the mother of my LORD." She clearly speaks to Miriam as already being pregnant - the fetus of Yeshua was already growing in her womb. Thus, Yeshua was conceived at Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, for He is the Light of the World.....Link
Isaiah 7:14 - "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman'u-el."
1. After prophesying that the Savior would suffer for our sins and then be "cut off out of the land of the living," Isaiah states that He "will see His offspring" and that God the Father will "prolong His days" (Isaiah 53:5, 8 and 10)
On the Day of Pentecost, when Peter preached the first Gospel sermon, he boldly asserted that God had raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24). He then explained that God had performed this miraculous deed in fulfillment of David's prophecy in Psalm 16. In fact, he quoted the words of David in detail as contained in Psalm 16:8-9-10-11. Years later, Paul did the same thing when he spoke to the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia. Like Peter, he declared that God had raised Jesus from the dead in fulfillment of Psalm 16:10 (Acts 13: 33-34-35).
The fulfillment of the prophecies of the birth of Messiah, are written in the Gospels of the New Testament. This is what we as believers celebrate in Jesus, Yeshua, the King of Glory.
Despite the economic hardships, despite the destruction of our beloved country, despite the downfall of the greatest constitution protecting our God given rights, despite the loss of our freedoms and our Republic, we have the JOY that is only in knowing God the Father sent His Son Jesus, our Messiah, as the final sacrifice for our sins. He set us free, He is our Joy, He is our peace, He is our resurrected bodies, He is our only King. So, no matter what your circumstances, if you have Messiah in your heart and in your life, and you believe on Him, you have everything. This is what our HOLY DAYS of Christmas are all about.
Take time in this busy season to reflect with God's Word the amazing gift we were given with Christmas. Take time to be alone with His Word, and to know the greatest gift to mankind is our King of Glory, the Son of God.
Remember too, the origin of the word holiday is "holy day." Christmas truly is a Holy Day. God, the very embodiment of holiness, humbled himself to come to earth; to be born as a baby in a stable. What a reason for celebration! Well-meaning people who have obsessed over saying “Happy Holidays,” believing it diminishes the religious value of the greeting and of Christ Mass (Christmas) are taking affront at something that is more precious than the greeting, "Merry Christmas."
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So when some shop keeper wishes you a Happy Holiday, remember in pre-industrial society the only holidays were Sundays and the Christian festivals. Holy days and holidays were one and the same thing. One can only begin to imagine how precious and special these days were. Wish that shop keeper back, "Happy Holy Days to you too!"
Happy Holy Days indeed, and Merry Christmas to you. May this year you feel the awe in God's gift and the wonder of His holiness every time someone wishes you a "Happy Holiday"!
© 2010 Kelleigh Nelson - All Rights Reserved
Kelleigh Nelson has been researching the Christian right and their connections to the left, the new age, and cults since 1975. Formerly an executive producer for three different national radio talk show hosts, she was adept at finding and scheduling a variety of wonderful guests for her radio hosts. She and her husband live in Knoxville, TN, and she has owned her own wholesale commercial bakery since 1990. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Kelleigh was marketing communications and advertising manager for a fortune 100 company in Ohio. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she was a Goldwater girl with high school classmate, Hillary Rodham, in Park Ridge, Illinois. Kelleigh is well acquainted with Chicago politics and was working in downtown Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention riots. Kelleigh is presently the secretary for Rocky Top Freedom Campaign, a strong freedom advocate group.