Never Too Late

Hanukkah Day Eight

Today, the eighth day of Hanukkah, began at sunset yesterday with the lighting of all nine candles on the Hanukkiah. Even though Hanukkah ends today the stories never do, because the bravery, commitment, dedication and devotion to Adonai stays with us. The Maccabees were unwilling to bow to the ruling powers that said “Deny your God or die.” They chose to remain true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The story of the Maccabees and their Jewish brothers who kept the faith are stories that should inspire faith in us.

Even though Hanukkah ends today, Fran and I plan on celebrating it again at the end of December when our children and grandchildren are with us. It is never too late to tell the enduring stories of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple. When the candles are burning I think not only about the rededication of the Temple but also about the original dedications of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and Solomon’s temple. The dedication of the Tabernacle is recorded in Exodus 40:34-35, “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle. Moses was unable to enter into the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud resided there and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle.”

When Solomon dedicated the First Temple, Scripture says, “Now when Solomon finished praying the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the glory of Adonai filled the house so that the kohanim could not enter the house of Adonai; because the glory of Adonai filled Adonai’s house.  All the people of Isra’el saw when the fire came down, and the glory of Adonai was on the house; they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the flooring; prostrating themselves, they gave thanks to Adonai, ‘for he is good, for his grace continues forever’.” (2 Chronicles 7:1) The lights of Hanukkah remind me of the glory of Adonai that filled the Tabernacle and the Temple. And I wonder, “What was that glory like, as the presence of Adonai filled his house?”

We see a parallel on the Day of Pentecost (Shavuot) when “tongues like fire” settled on the disciples. So the glory of Adonai now inhabited individuals and the community. Paul adds to this when he writes, “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that the Ruach Elohim dwells among you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Cor. 3:16-17)

So what does that mean that the glory of Adonai dwells in us? It really stops me in my tracks and causes me to reflect. As I watch the Hanukkah candles burn I wonder if my life reflects the indwelling presence of Adonai. May this be a guiding meditation for me, and perhaps for all of us, in the coming year. Happy Hanukkah!

TOPICS: Hanukkah, Maccabees, Tabernacle, Temple