My family celebrated Haunkkah for the first time when I was 6 years old. We were studying Israel that year in our homeschooling and my parents decided that it would be fun (and a "great learning experience") to celebrate some of the Jewish holidays. I don't remember much about our first Hanukkah but Mom remembers that we did an activity each night as a family. One of those activities was putting together a 50 piece puzzle that was suppose to last for only 20 mins or so. But when you have 3 kids between the ages of 2 and 6 plus an infant, an easy 20 min puzzle becomes an hour long puzzle.
And this is why my family and I don't do puzzles.
That and the fact that as a seamstress, when working with fabrics, if a piece doesn't fit, I can shape it to make it fit. But with cardboard pieces, they only go in one way AND ONE WAY ONLY! So puzzles frustrate me (nervous twitch).
After that first Hanukkah, my parents would give us the option of either doing Hanukkah or Christmas. Sometimes we would do both but we would only get our 3 presents at one. We only got three presents because, and I quote:
"Baby Jesus only got three presents. If Jesus wasn't good enough to get more than three, than neither are you." -Mother.
Those years we mostly lit the menorah and did a lot of family activities.
About 6 years ago we really started diving deeper into the Jewish culture. We began making it a priority to celebrate the Jewish holidays and "High Holy Days". Hanukkah started becoming a tradition for us and to this day we still celebrate it along with Christmas. Our "Hanukkah traditions" vary from year to year.
Last year everybody took a night and planned an activity and what we would have for supper that night. Jonathan wanted to make peanut butterballs one night, Christopher created a scavenger hunt for us, Gideon cooked up a milkshake bar and we all told funny made up stories on my night. Also, Mom and Dad surprised us by taking us to see The Hobbit in theaters. They blindfolded us, stuffed us in the car and took a back way to the movie theater so we wouldn't know what was up. I think we all had suspected that that's what they were doing 'cus my brothers and I had dropped some MAJOR hints that we REALLY wanted to go see The Hobbit the day it came out (which was during one of the last nights of Hanukkah).
Along with that, we put together a skit to do with a small messianic congregation that was meeting in Chattanooga. It was done kinda like a reader's theater with audience participation so everyone read their line from a script. But it still turned out great! Christopher wrote the script based off the history of Hanukkah and did it as a newscast. Here are some pictures:
(That dashingly handsome Judah Macabee is played by my awesome brother, Jonathan. Doesn't he look like a renegade with that headband tie?)
(Notice that Gideon has the big tie and Daddy has the small one :)
Everyone had fun and we plan to do it again this year with our bible study group.
This year, since Thanksgiving falls during Hanukkah, my family will actually be spending part of it with my Mamaw and Papaw as we are going to their house for Thanksgiving. On Saturday our Bible Study group that meets on Shabbat mornings is throwing a Hanukkah party complete with music, fried foods and an "Ugly Hanukkah Sweater/T-shirt Contest" (you are SO going down Chris Terry!). The rest of the nights will be family nights that each one of us kids will be in charge of. We each will choose a meal, activity and will give out our presents to the family.
Stay tuned for more details!
Oh! Almost forgot! Below is a video that was included with the skit mentioned above. The reporter (played by me) is interviewing Judah Macabee (played by Jonathan) and asks him what did he think it would be like when people celebrate this day in the future. Then we played this video.
Now that you know the history of Hanukkah, I would like to explain it from a different perspective....
the believer in Yeshua's (Jesus) perspective.
There are SEVERAL parallels to Yeshua (Jesus) in basically every Jewish holiday. It's really an interesting study. But today I'm only going to concentrate on some of the ones that show up in Hanukkah because that's what you and I have been looking at these past few days.
The first parallel I briefly mentioned in my first Hanukkah post. Remember the temple menorah and how I said that it was the only source of light in the whole temple? God commanded that the menorah be lit at all times (see Exodus 27:20-21). The Jews must have thought that God commanded this just so the priest in the temple could see. But if there's one thing that I've learned from my (earthly) father it's that God doesn't ever command something without it having a deeper meaning behind it.
You see, when Yeshua (Jesus) walked upon this earth, He actually observed Jewish customs and holidays. This is part of the reason why when the Pharasees came to accuse Yeshua (Jesus) they could find no fault in Him because, by their law, He had fulfilled everything. Yeshua (Jesus) was a "good Jewish boy." So when Hanukkah came around guess where our Savoir was? That's right! Jerusalem. More specifically, the temple in Jerusalem.
"Then came Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). It was winter, and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s (Solomon's) Colonnade."
John 10:22,23 Complete Jewish Bible (parenthesis are mine)
Back up two chapters to John 8 verse 12. Yeshua (I think you know by now who I'm talking about) had just forgiven the woman caught in adultery. He then turns around and continues teaching and the next thing out of His mouth is:
Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.” John 10:12 CJB
Yeshua called himself the light of the world. Hanukkah occurs in the dark of winter. Yet as He was preparing to attend the Feast of Dedication He takes the time to stop and tell this woman that just as the menorah gives light to the temple and the Hanukkah menorah gives light in the dark of winter, HE gives light to the whole world and we have no need to walk in darkness ever again.
The second parallel has to do with the menorah itself rather than the actual light. On a Hanukkah menorah you will notice that there is one candle that sits higher than the others. This is the Shamash or the Servant Candle. The purpose of the Servant Candle is to light the other candles but in order to do this the Servant Candle must first humble itself and come down from its high place on the menorah to the other candles below.
Though he was in the form of God,
he did not regard equality with God
something to be possessed by force.
On the contrary, he emptied himself,
in that he took the form of a slave
by becoming like human beings are. And when he appeared as a human being,
he humbled himself still more
by becoming obedient even to death --
death on a stake as a criminal! Therefore God raised him to the highest place
and gave him the name above every name;
Philippians 2:6-9 CJB
For I say that the Messiah became a servant of the Jewish people in order to show God’s truthfulness by making good his promises to the Patriarchs, Romans 15:8 CJB
The Servant candle is a picture of Yeshua in how that HE came down to earth to give us salvation and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).
“Arise, shine [Yerushalayim], for your light has come, the glory of Adonai has risen over you. Isaiah 60:1 CJB
“For you, Adonai, are my lamp; Adonai lights up my darkness. 2 Samuel 22:29 CJB
Without the Servant Candle the rest of the menorah cannot be lit. Just like we cannot have the Light of Life without Yeshua.
Sadly many Jews do not see these parallels because many of them are still looking for their messiah. They don't know that HE has already come and is willing to deliver them from their opression. To prove my point, a couple of years ago a singing group called The Maccabeats, an a cappella made up of Jewish guys, released this song for Hanukkah. Here are a few of the lyrics: You can listen to the whole song HERE
I see a light, reflection refraction;
Is it nothing more than a chemical reaction?
It flickers and grows, nobody knows;
How much we feel how quickly it goes;
Turn off the dark and vanquish the night;
Show the whole world for eight days at twilight;
Then and now they fought and we fight;
Fight for the right to live by our own light;
Let me see the light;
Give me something to live by;
Let me see the light;
I need something to live by;
Help me see myself in my reflection;
Let me shed the light in each direction;
I wanna see the light;...
...Is this spark that we sing of anything?;
Hiding somewhere in between everything;...
Help me see myself in my reflection;
Let me shed the light in each direction;
I wanna to see the light
SHINE The Maccabeats
Sad isn't it? They really don't know that there is a Light that they can live by and these are the JEWISH PEOPLE, the nation that Jesus lived in while HE was here on earth. So I challange you this week to pray for the Jews that their Messiah might be revealed to them this Hanukkah and they, like the candles of the menorah, would arrive in a humble state so that they too can receive the Light of Life Yeshua offers them.
It hasn't happened since 1888,
and it won't happen again for another 70,000+ years.
Hanukkah has fallen during Thanksgiving
and the media has gone wild!
(This next one is my favorite!)
(Yom Kippur is a day of fasting for Jews)
Yep folks! You heard it right! Hanukkah began last night on November 27th and tonight is night two as well Thanksgiving. This is actually a very rare event. The last recorded "Thanksgivukkah" was way back in the 1880's and the next one won't happen again for a VERY long time! Like, as in, almost 80,000 years from now! So I guess this is like the Haley's comet for Jewish holidays.
So today, as you stuff your face with turkey until you feel like bursting and thank God for all the many loving kindnesses HE has shown you over the years, remember that this is a once in a lifetime event.
And use this as an excuse to eat a second slice of pie. I mean come on! Best excuse ever if you ask me! I plan to use it all day!
Every year my family celebrates the Jewish festival of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) instead of Christmas. Now this does not mean that we completely ignore the birth of Jesus, we just choose to celebrate it in a different way. Many people have asked me about what exactly Hanukkah is so, by request of a friend, I will be post something for every night of Hanukkah explaining what it is about and what our family does to celebrate it.
Since tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, I thought I'd start off by answering:
WHAT IS HANUKKAH?
Hanukkah, The Feast of Dedication, lasts for eight nights. Every night a new candle is lit on a Hanukkah menorah (a candelabra) counting up the days. On the first night one candle is lit, on the second night two candles and so forth.
The story of Hanukkah dates back to 165 B.C. when the Greeks took over Judea under Antiochus IV. There was no freedom of religion for the Jews at that time, but there was a group called the Hasidim that still tried to live their faith and study Torah (the 1st 5 books of the Bible). Their leader was a man by the name of Mattathias. He led the Hasidim against the Greeks in a battle to gain back their freedom. Mattathias sadly died in combat and his son, Judah, nicknamed The Maccabee, (which means The Hammer) took over his fathers role as leader.
(sorry, I couldn't resist! )
Now back to the story...
Finally after many long battles, the Hasidims were victorious and took back their right to religious freedom and to their temple!
Tradition says that when the joyous Jews arrived at their beloved temple they were shocked at the state it was in! The temple was so corrupted that they had to begin the process of cleaning and re-purifing. When at last the temple had been purified, the priest went to light the giant menorah that stood in the temple's inner court.
But there was a slight problem... The people only had enough oil to last for one day.
You: Oh that's no problem! Couldn't they just go buy some at the market or make some?
Well... no. You see first off the temple menorah required a special oil that wasn't sold anywhere, it was made only by the Levites (a Jewish tribe set aside by God for temple work). Secondly, this special oil needed a total of eight days to make. And thirdly, the temple menorah was commanded to always be lit as a foreshadowing of Jesus's (Yeshua) coming whether or not the Jews realized it. (remember "I am The Light of the World" ?). Also the menorah was the only source of light in the temple, without it the priest couldn't see to do their priestly duties. So to recap, the Jews had a menorah that needed to burn continually and only enough oil for one day. BIG PROBLEM!
In the words of a cartoon character:
"I AM TOTALLY FREAKING OUT!" Peg from Peg+Cat
Well the Jews decided to go ahead and light the menorah anyway and the Levites set about to making new oil. But after eight days when the new oil had been made and was ready, the Jews were shocked to find that the little bit of oil that was only suppose to last ONE day had lasted the whole EIGHT days required to make the new! So the Jews (because they were Jews) declared that a holiday lasting for eight days starting on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev (the name of a Jewish month) be established as a memorial to rededicating the temple and to the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days.
So that's the history of Hanukkah!
Clear as mud?
No? Not really?
Well maybe these guys can help fill in the gaps for you.
In addition to sewing her bridal veil, Shelby also asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. (Almost cried that time too) For bridesmaid dresses, Shelby just picked the color and fabric she wanted us all to wear and we got to pick out our own dresses. I ordered mine from Milanoo.com but when I got it in the mail, I quickly realized something was wrong...
The shoulders were WAY TOO BIG! As in, like, two inches too big! Also, the length (even with the shoes I'll be wearing) needed to be cut off a little. Which was expected, since I'm only 5 ft 3 in. And the bust was really too big for me too, (whoa! something not fitting me in the bust? That's new! [said sarcastically]) but I think that I can get by with it. So the length and bust part wasn't a total shock, but the shoulder seams were. :)
Since I had no clue what to do, and I wasn't willing to risk trying to fix the dress myself and mess it up, I called up a lady that my Mom works with from time to time who use to do alterations. She said she thought she could help me out. So one Friday morning, I loaded up my precious dress and drove to Cleveland to try and get everything situated.
The meeting went great! The lady pinned up the shoulders and hem on the dress then she taught me how to take everything up. We did the shoulders together at her house, then she instructed me on the hem and I went home and did it myself.
Ahh... much better! Now I can actually wear my dress! Thanks so much to the brave lady who helped me out! I really don't know what I would have done without her help and guidance. I probably would have tried to do it myself and end up tearing it in the process. Then both the dress and I would have wound up in *separate* corners with me curled up in a little sorrowful ball crying hysterically. (yes, it would have been that dramatic!)
Only 34 days until the wedding! I still can't get over the fact that Shelby chose me to be one of her bridesmaids and witness as she pledges her life to the man she loves for forever.
Ok Susan, don't cry. Get a hold of yourself.
On a side note, the Jewish Festival of Lights (also known as Hanukkah) begins Wednesday at sundown and ends on the next Wednesday at sundown. I will be doing something special on my blog during that time so be sure and check back here on Wednesday and tell your friends!
I have a confession to make.
I'm a Doctor Who fan.
And as a fan of the man who travels around in a police box, I enjoy getting together with my fellow whovians to discuss all things Doctor Who related. So when my family and I discovered that there are some "Who" fans, who attend our Bible Study on Saturdays, a who night was born.
Everyone was busy getting ready!
Mom made granola and bean dip,
the Terry family polished up their tv,
and my brothers and I dug around in our closets until we found enough to throw together some costumes.
Armed with popcorn, chips and a variety of other snacks, everyone settled down for a night of Who magic! What a night it was!
We told the Doctor what to do (he didn't listen),
It. Was. AWESOME!
The Who's from left to right:
Amy Pond (me), Human (Nich), Human #2 (Daddy), The 10th doctor (Jonathan), The 11th doctor (Christopher), Human #3 (Mr. Chris), Human #4 (Mrs. Sandi)
the 4th doctor (Gideon)
Thanks to the Terrys for hosting and my mom (plus Mrs. Sandi) for the delicious snacks! Let's do it again sometime!
So this is Susan's mom wanting to win something cool and needing somewhere to post a link about it AGAIN.
Don't you love how parents get to use their children in such ways as this :) Just wait all you beautiful young women. Your day is coming and it will be glorious!
Anyway, check out this website if you want to win as well. And good luck, but don't beat me out of it, ok?
Whenever you are sewing and you go to shake out your project to get all the little threads that are stuck to it off, be sure to remove all of your pins FIRST. Otherwise, one might go flying and end up sticking into you. Yes you. As in, flesh and blood you!
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and try to unpin my braid from my chest. Saved by the power of the long side braid!
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