Hanukkah is not a part of the Christian Christmas observance. Many probably do not notice it’s time or reason with the date falling near the winter solstice, Dec. 22. It’s also called “The Feast of Lights”, but in the Bible it was noted as “The Feast of Dedication” John 10:22. While it was not an O.T. feast, The Feast of Dedication served as a memorial for the dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus in December, 165 B.C., after Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated it in 167 B.C. Dan. 11:31. The Temple was then reopened, restored and dedicated. The Jews wanted to remember the moment when this place of worship was dedicated, thus Hanukkah began. The temple, however, has long since been destroyed; only remnants and outer walls mark its perimeter. The artifacts and tools of sacrifice are also a faint memory. So why retain the Feast of Lights? Why keep up the observance of a place that no longer exists? The answer is found in Who is being dedicated; not in What. No one can dedicate a building without being dedicated themselves. It is a wasted endeavor to consign credence to stone and mortar without purposed people that give their lives to the cause. Lifeless structures of every age sit idle if the people are not dedicated along with them. Dedication of any church is a temporal transaction unless the people are dedicated to the purpose behind it.
My prayer is for a greater dedication of our lives for the sake of the church. Our building is a blessing from God, and yes we have dedicated it to the Cause of Christ. Yet the church house is only as good as the desire of those who call it their place of sacrifice and worship. The building is an empty relic without prayer echoing off the walls; without worship and singing within its boundaries. I’m returning to David’s heart cry: “To behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.”
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole