Then Judah and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev. – 1 Maccabees 4:59, RSV
Here we have come to the eighth and final day in the festival of Chanukah. We started with just a little light but today! Oh, today with all eight lights plus the shamash burning, the light is so bright pushing back the darkness around us.
In Jewish thought numbers have significance. The number seven is the number of completeness; it is the number of perfection in an everyday, normal context. The creation was complete in seven days: the Menorah in the Temple had seven branches. Even in the natural world we see this pattern, such as in music where each complete octave is made up of seven notes.
But eight is the symbol of that which goes above and beyond the ability of the natural to complete. Eight is the sign of the miracle that happens when and where the natural has reached its conclusion. How fitting that there are eight days and eight lights for the festival of Chanukah, the Festival of Miracles. There was the miracle of the oil and there was an even greater miracle — the victory of a weak and small group of faithful Jews against the might of the great Seleucid Empire. In the natural, there is no way that the Maccabees and their loyal band could have won that battle. But their G-d, and our G-d, is the G-d of the supernatural. The boundaries of the natural order mean nothing to HaShem. He can overpower the mighty enemy and he can make resources that are not enough in the natural, last exactly the right length of time.
So what is the miracle you are in need of at the end of the festival of Chanukah? What is the “oil” you only have one day’s supply of left? What is the mighty-looking enemy that masses to put a stop to you and your faith? It is the day of the eighth light today. It’s the day when the natural does not matter and our G-d can do whatever is necessary to bring His plans to completion, but a completion beyond the natural, into His logic-defying reality. What is the miracle you are looking for? Our Messiah, Yeshua, the Light of the World, is able!
Then came Chanukah; it was winter in Jerusalem. Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade. Then the Judean leaders surrounded Him, saying, “How long will You hold us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us outright!” Yeshua answered them, “I told you, but you don’t believe! The works I do in My Father’s name testify concerning Me. – John 10:22-25, TLV
Originally published Dec 10, 2018