Chanukah is on the evening of the 24th of Kislev on the Jewish calendar.. on our calendar this year it begins tonight Christmas Eve. Our family began celebrating Chanukah 3 years ago as well as the other Biblical feasts. We celebrate this in addition to Christmas. Our family loves both celebrations. Chanukah is the festival of lights and is a beautiful reminder to us to shine in the darkness. I love Matthew 5:14-16 in the Message Translation “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Let’s go public with it… shining as such bright lights in this world.. not keeping God as a secret.. opening our homes, being generous with our lives (being open and giving with others)
As I was preparing my study notes on Chanukah to share with our kids, I decided to study each individual letter in the word Chanukah. I love studying the Bible in Hebrew.. it’s a rich and beautiful language full of layers upon layers of meanings. The Hebrew letters in the word Chanukah are chet, nun, vav, kaf, hey. The Hebrew alphabet (or as it’s called in Hebrew alef-bet) is full of meaning. Each letter is not just a letter, but a number and a picture.. with layers of meanings. I love something Billy Graham said, “The Bible is big–so big that even the greatest scholar will never exhaust its riches.”
Chet, Nun are the first two letters of Chanukah and spell the Hebrew word grace. Vav is the next letter and the first time “vav” is mentioned in Scripture it is as a word, not just a letter. It is in Gen 1 “heavens and (vav) the earth.” It is a word connecting Heaven and Earth. Grace always connects us to the Heavenly realm…. it enables us to live on earth as it is in Heaven. It is the empowering Presence of Holy Spirit in and through our lives. “Vav” is also the number 6 which is 5+1… 6 = 5 (grace) + 1… an abundance of grace. Romans 5:17 tells us that those who receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in this life through Jesus. That is just the first two letters of Chanukah… grace! An abundance of grace poured out from Heaven upon us.
The next 2 letters or the 2nd half of the word is Kaf, Hey. Kaf is a picture of an open hand… an open hand speaks of blessings. In Ex 33:22, when Moses asked God to show him His glory, God covered Moses with His hand… that word hand is kaf in the Hebrew. Kaf is a picture of God’s open hand, specifically His open hand of blessing. One of the meanings of Hey is behold! or revealed. The 2nd half of this word is speaking of God’s open hand of blessing being revealed (in this season).
Studying the word Chanukah by breaking it down letter by letter shows us a beautiful picture of what God is wanting to pour out on us in this season… His grace multiplied to us and His open hand of blessing revealed to us.
John 1:16 (amp version) sums it up so beautifully… For out of His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace, and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.
Merry Christmas and Chag Sameach!!