What a great time gathering! In the midst of a busy month full of holiday activities, we carved out some time to pray, worship, learn about the celebration of Hanukkah, and “gather some oil” for our own hearts.
Linda Edwards began our time together with several Christmas hymns. “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” and “Angels from the Realms of Glory” were two not so familiar songs that struck our hearts this year with their powerful lyrics.
After these songs, Matthew shared a great message helping us all understand the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. We were in the midst of the Hanukkah celebration at the time of the meeting so it seemed an appropriate time to enjoy jelly donuts along with our coffee and learn about this Jewish festival that often gets confused as “Jewish Christmas,” which it is not. We watched a helpful and humorous YouTube video (Hanukkah || Mayim Bialik), that explains this event on the Jewish calendar.
Matthew then read from an article "Christ in the Feast of Hanukkah by David Brickner of Jews for Jesus) explaining not only the historical facts about the Maccabean revolt against the Greek rule of that day to purge the temple from Greek desecration, but also the connections Jesus had with Hanukkah. Matthew also wrote some Hanukkah reflections in a December Blog, Hanukkah Reflections 2017
We watched a few fun videos about Hanukkah by the Maccabeats (Candlelight & Miracle & Latke Recipe). The point of this was to see that Jewish people are faithfully remembering this historical event, but they are missing the LIGHT who has come.
Matthew’s main point in sharing all of this about Hanukkah was so that we would gain a heart of love for God’s people Israel. We also gain understanding of the struggles they have faced as well as their culture and customs. We realize the beauty of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. He shared a great word of wisdom that although we don’t necessarily agree with everything that the political nation of Israel does, we want to always be in agreement with God’s plans for Israel, the Land and the People.
In the story of Hanukkah there was a miracle of oil that Jewish history tells. After the Jews drove out the Greeks who were polluting their place of worship, the Jews cleansed the temple. They only had enough oil for 1 day, but the oil miraculously lasted 8 days, long enough to allow them to prepare more oil. This has an application for us as we have talked about pressing out oil. We do our part of seeking the Lord and studying the Word, but ultimately, we look to Him for a miraculous supply of oil in our own lives.
Ginny Wall and Ian Wilson both led us in worship focusing on having oil in our lamps and on Jesus as our light.
We prayed for impartation of God’s heart for Israel as well as having oil.
Matthew or Julie Wine