A Gentile Thinks About Hanukkah
Only a few days remain until Hanukkah now. I thought, I’ve got to get some cards for my Jewish friends. But what can I get?” Certainly not the syrupy-sweet cards that use many words to say nothing. I can’t stand that kind of stuff.
Then I thought of something better than greeting card messages: the real meaning of Hanukkah, the meaning today. Sure, there are the gifts, the goodies, the gelt (Hanukkah money) and the gatherings of families and friends, but that’s not the real thing. Isn’t there something that makes Hanukkah great? And if so, what is it?
The answers to these questions lie in the miraculous provision of sanctified oil for the menorah in the Temple. God (blessed be he) provided that oil just as he did for Elisha centuries before. Many centuries later, in a barracks in the Ravensbruck concentration camp, he again supplied oil to his servants. But this time, the seemingly endless supply of oil drops contained life-sustaining, desperately needed vitamins. As with Elisha, the supply lasted until the need had passed.*
Suddenly, all this came together: the heart of Hanukkah is a celebration of the care and dependability of God! Although not ordained in the Torah or the Prophets, God sanctified the entire proceeding by performing a miracle. Soon Jews will do again what they did at Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot: by their actions, they’ll give a story. The Hanukkah celebration reminds all the world of the goodness and provision of the eternally blessed Lord of the heavens and the earth!
The goodness and provision of the eternally blessed Lord of the heavens and the earth! Think of that! Isn’t that the best possible reason for a celebration? Happy Hanukkah—for sure! Amen!
*Corrie Ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, The Hiding Place, pp. 202 and 203, Bantam Books, 1974.