Monday, December 26, 2005

Hannukah for Christians?

By a happy "coincidence," Hannukah coincides this year with the Octave of Christmas. We Christians don't celebrate Hannukah, which I think a shame. We believe in the miracle our elder brothers and sisters in the Covenant celebrate in this feast -- it is a very pleasing feast, a commemoration of the miracle of oil lasting eight days, rather than one, in the lampstands of the temple, from the time of the Macabbees.

Of course, we who are Christians cannot help thinking of the One who went to that very same temple and said, "I am the Light of the world." Such statements in the Gospel are what prevent us from saluting Jesus as "a good man" or a mere prophet -- because if he wasn't someone altogether extraordinary -- indeed, if he was not the Most High, the Holy One -- then he was a a very strange man, a very sad man; a lunatic, if not an evil man. Either Jesus is the Lord God come in human form, the Son of the Most High -- or he is someone embarrassing to forget.

Most of our Jewish brothers and sisters don't believe Jesus is the Light, and that is a shame; but we continue to bear witness to the Light, and we hope for the day that they will recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

But I am very happy I live in a country where Jews do not fear to celebrate their feasts, where Christians do not regard their Jewish neighbors with suspicion. Sadly, such has not been the case in so many Christian nations. That is our shame as followers of Christ. But at least in this land, Jews worship in peace, and that is how it ought to be.

Happy Hannukah!


Deacon Jim said...

The feasts of the Old Testament are a great foreshadowing of the world's salvation.

The Maccabees not only had a foretaste of the light in the symbolism of the lamp stand, they also knew the duty to pray and make offerings for the dead.

Brave and sound soldiers.

Jenny said...

I always thought it a bit strange that Hannukah is celebrated by Jews, but does not appear in their Bible. The book of Macccabees is included in the Catholic Bible, but Catholics do not celebrate Hannukah.