Then in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by ADONAI into a town in the Galilee named Natzeret and to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Miriam… Behold, even your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son in her old age; and the one who was called barren is six months pregnant… – Luke 1:26-27 & 36, TLV
One of the sayings of Chanukah is Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, which means “A Great Miracle Happened There.” The great miracle being referred to is the miracle of the single day’s oil lasting for the full eight days by HaShem’s divine intervention. But there is another great miracle, truly a much greater miracle, that also appears to have happened there at the Chanukah only 160 or so years later.
Luke tells us in the first chapter of his besorah about the conception and birth of Yochanan (John) the Immerser. His father, Zechariah, was a priest in the order of Abijah. This was the eighth order of the priests. You see King David had divided the priests into 24 orders and each order served for a seven-day period twice a year, in addition to all the pilgrimage feasts. We can calculate from the instructions given in Chronicles that Zechariah would be serving in the Temple in the middle of the month of Sivan. He received a word from the L-rd while he was serving that he would have a son and was to call him John. He returned home and his wife became pregnant… if you are still calculating with me, this means that John was likely conceived in late in the month of Sivan.
In verse 26, Luke explains that in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s (Zechariah’s wife) pregnancy the Angel appeared to Miriam (Mary) in Nazareth. Luke repeats the sixth month again in verse 36. Why? Well, six months after late Sivan is late Kislev — and Chanukah starts on the 25th of Kislev. Could it be that the Messiah, The Light of the World, was conceived into the world at this very celebration? How fitting a great miracle that is for the Festival of Lights! How glorious the plan of HaShem. May we be ready to dedicate ourselves to HaShem with the same conviction that Miriam did on that day in the sixth month of her cousin’s pregnancy.
So Miriam said, “Behold, the servant of ADONAI. Let it be done to me according to your word.”
– Luke 1: 38, TLV
Originally published Dec 8, 2018