Written on December 17, 2014. By Shari Norvell
Night One – December 16
Tonight at Sundown begins a most beautiful season of celebration. Chanukah: The Feast of Dedication, The Festival of Lights. At this time, we celebrate the miracles of our stories and our God who created them within their fabric. We celebrate those who would not let God’s dream die and rededicated the temple and their hearts.
I write this entry from my wedding venue and the family home of my husband, now dwelt in by some dear to us. I spent the night here last night for the first time in many years. Today, I ventured through these hallowed halls of our story remembering miracle after miracle, testimony after testimony, even as I await the miracle of life and the testimony of covenant to come forth. It will take the form of a baby girl named Lucy who carries the covenant of light.
Contractions intensify and our candle of hope burns bright as we wait for a young couples firstborn to enter our scene. Our current paragraph keeps us from attending Tuegather where our family menorah will be lit. And so we search and find what we already knew. Pappa always provides. For hidden within draws are candle holders and candles just waiting to answer the call.
As light completes dark at sundown, we light our candles. First, we light the candle called the shamash. It’s name means servant. It holds the 9th place in the menorah which is the center. Nine represents choice. The one who serves, chooses to do so. Standing in the midst of the other candles, it reminds us that the signature of the servant is knowing what is precious to those surrounding him. And so the shamash candle receives its fire first, so it may give it away to the others. It stands steadfast each night and burns slightly overshadowed by the other candles. Oh, but if one of their lights should go out, it stands at the ready to reignite what was always meant to be. For the other candles purpose, role, design and destiny are fulfilled because the light of the One was given.
From the shamash tonight, we lit the first in line to the right (just as Hebrew is read from right to left). This candle reminds us that Jesus came as a servant and became the light of the world. It reminds us that He gave that light to us so we would become it.
And, it reminds us, that we were created to be faithful. our story is filled with the faithfulness of God and those who ran. But at Chanukah, we celebrate a story of the faithfulness of a people called the Macabees. Though most around them were succumbing to the decay and demands of Alexander the Great and his empire, they refused to become defilers. They would not sacrifice e profane on the false altars created or worship any other God. They wouldn’t let go of their culture because it meant releasing the testimonies of their God as ineffective and unimportant. When He called their name, they responded with a wild yes and made their way back to where He always intended them to be. Restorers, redeemer sand reconcilers were among the rag tag army of Macabees. Because, those stand in awe of Him will never be removed from Him.