This evening begins the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is about the miracles God performed for the Israelites 2000 years ago. Miracles continue to surround us today.
Over the next eight days, we will learn about Hanukkah and grow in appreciation of the miracles of the past, present and future. If you want to learn more about Hanukkah and find some inspiration for the next week, subscribe to the blog or visit often!
Below is the first of eight short devotions.
Night #1: The Miracle of Courage
According to Jewish legend, the holiday began when the Jewish rebels regained the Temple from the control of King Antiochus. A tiny jar of oil was discovered. The oil burned for eight days, and this miracle became the basis of an eight-day holiday of rejoicing and remembering.
Yet, something is odd. The miracle was that a tiny amount of oil—enough, perhaps, for one night—lasted for eight.
If this is so, then Hanukkah should only last seven night. The first night was not really a miracle, since we began with enough oil for it. Why, then, do we celebrate for eight?
The Real Miracle
I love the answer given the late Rabbi David Hartman. The miracle of the first night was that the Maccabees (Jewish rebels) lit the lamp at all.
They were uncertain whether it would last the eight days needed to complete the purification and rededication the Temple. Yet, they took a leap of faith, trusting in God’s power and promise. That is a miracle we can embrace every day.