‘Tis the season for many around the world to show off their creative light decoration skills. Many are eagerly awaiting Christmas, a time when the light shines from homes, commercial buildings, parks, boats, and trees. Compared to Halloween, it is truly a time of dispelling darkness. This year is especially special as Chanukah (Hannukah), also called the Festival of Lights, runs through Christmas. Jews and Gentiles will be celebrating God’s miraculous salvation at the same time; though in different ways.
Chanukah celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from a tyrannical oppressor, Antiochus Epiphanes. Prominent in the telling of the events is the miracle of the single-day supply of oil that burned for eight days. Referring to Yeshua, John 1:4-5 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it”. Yeshua came to bring salvation to the world, reflecting the light of the Father and vanquishing darkness wherever he set his feet. The atoning sacrifice of Yeshua brings eternal salvation. It goes well beyond lifetimes and cannot be overturned. While we experience temporary periods of salvation in this life, the salvation of God through Messiah Yeshua is forever.
The Apostle John wrote in verse four that “the life was the light of men”. He also wrote the words of Yeshua in Revelation 22:16, which states, “I, Yeshua, have sent My angel to testify these things to you for My communities. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Yeshua is the bright and Morning Star and the Light of men who came as the Good Shepherd, willing to lay down his life for the sheep (us). His light doesn’t just shine in the dark, it completely overpowers it. He said, “As light I have come into the world, so that everyone who trusts in Me should not remain in darkness (John 12:46). Describing the new Jerusalem, John wrote, “And the city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23). Yeshua is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29); he is the Bright and Morning Star, the Light of men, and is the Glory of God who lights up the new Jerusalem!
How does this relate to us you say? Yeshua said, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:10). He is the image of God in bodily form (Colossians 1:15). He calls us to abide in Him (John 15:7) and promised to send His Ruach (Spirit) to dwell in us and be with us forever (John 14:16-17). In other words, just as He reflects (imitates) the Father, so are we to reflect him. This is why he calls us “the light of the world” (Matthew 15:14). The light we shine is not of our own making but is from Him who dwells in us. Without Him, we remain in darkness and darkness cannot reflect light. This is why the Apostle Paul (Sha’ul) wrote, For once you were darkness, but now in union with the Lord you are light. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). Yeshua said, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
This season, as you light your Chanukia candles and turn on those Christmas lights, remember that those who abide in Messiah will shine like the sun––”Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavenly expanse. And those who turn many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). “In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).