December 23, 2008
With all the weather excitement, I forgot that it is Chanukah! HAPPY Chanukah!!
The story of Chanukah is a favorite of mine. If you don't know it I will share it with you:
Around 200 BCE(Before the Christian Era)Jews lived as an autonomous people in the Land of Israel, also referred to as Judea, which at that time was controlled by the Seleucid king of Syria. The Jewish people paid taxes to Syria and accepted its legal authority, and they were free to follow their own faith, maintain their own jobs, and engage in trade.
Around 165 BCE there was an attempt by the Jewish people to liberate. The royal Hasmoneans family overpowered Syria. This Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. The Temple was liberated and rededicated. The festival of Chanukah's was instituted by Judah Maccabee and his brothers to celebrate the event. After recovering Jerusalem and the Temple, Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be dedicated.
According to the Talmud, olive oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple to burn throughout the night every night. However there was only enough oil to burn for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was just the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival (Chanukah)was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle.
I love thinking about the history of it all. The Greeks were instilling their altar to Zeus, while the Jewish were honoring their Jehovah(Yahweh).
It is said that after the reign of the Seleucid Empire defeat was the ruling dynasty of the Hasmonean Kingdom of Israel (140–37 BCE),an autonomous Jewish state. The Hasmonean dynasty established under the leadership of Simon Maccabaeus.
It gets REALLY exciting for me because at this point enters the players of my favorite point in history.
It is said that Simon's great grandsons were part of the era of Julius Cesar and Pompey the Great! With the deaths of Cesar and Pompey, said to be just a few years apart, comes the wars of Mark Antony, Octavian, Herod as the King of Judea ~ and well most of us know where the story picks up from there...
was King Herod a.k.a King of Judea, a.k.a King of the Jews, just a tad bit pissed when the 3 holy men came asking for the little King of the Jews??
In our little corner of the pot, Jesus is the reason for this season and so, historically this information has always fascinated me.
And then to consider that many of these territorial issues remain unresolved.
The real kick in the teeth is when we all contemplate the views of certain bases and how racist and divisional they are. The fact that Jesus was said to be born in Bethlehem shows us that the Christ they love is also the Christ they would not allow in their homes...probably going as far to say that they can not be "palling around" with the likes of Him.
Jesus: The Complete Story airing now on the Discovery Channel details how Joseph was probably Palestinian and it was his family who embraced Mary and helped her birth her child into the world...
My heart weeps for them all this season, it is my prayer that we can usher in a safe peaceful and embracing existence as we welcome the year 2009!
Saying "NO" to consumerism and thinking about our fellow man, our friends and our family, is what I hope for this time of year.
Peace and warm wishes today, to all of our friends, whether you are celebrating the more traditional views or a few of your own!