I was watching a TV show the other day and an analogy was given that God used to speak to me about the message of Hanukkah. The TV show character used an analogy describing an image of a rock skipping along the water and the ripples that slowly fanned out. He pointed out the simple fact that the length of time that the rock touched the water, whether a millisecond or a full second, didn’t change the outcome or result…there were ripples, always ripples!
Our lives are like that too…we are here on this earth for a very short time, some longer than others, but the legacy we leave doesn’t change…there are ripples, always ripples! There are ripples in the annuls of history books, ripples in our families hearts, ripples in our work successes, ripples in the spiritual atmosphere, ripples in the heavenlies, and so on. We can’t escape it, whether or not we can see the impact of the ripples doesn’t matter, there are still ripples, always ripples!
This truth got me thinking about the message of Hanukkah, but first a little background…
As many of you know, Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday that occurred during the intertestamental period, between the Old and New Testaments. This is the reason that it is only mentioned once in the New Testament, calling it the Feast of Dedication. John 10:22-23 records that Yeshua (Jesus) was in the Temple presumably to celebrate and commemorate the re-dedication of the Temple.
At the time of Hanukkah, Israel was under Greek rule. On the 25th of Kislev, the leader of the Greeks, Antiochus Epiphanes, defiled the Temple in Jerusalem by setting up an altar to Zeus. Three years into Antiochus’ reign of terror and degradation of the Jewish people, some Jews namely the family of the Maccabees, had had enough and decided to stage a revolt and an insurrection to retake back Judea and the Temple. The Maccabees were Levites, priests charged with the spiritual purity of the Jewish people, and the Jews were increasingly becoming Hellenized. This was unacceptable to the Maccabees, specifically Judah the Maccabee, and along with the help of the Lord, the Maccabees and others fought back. They overtook the mighty Greeks, with insurmountable odds, no armament or training, just courage and belief that with God all things are possible. They were indeed victorious, and on the 25th of Kislev in the year 165 BCE, the celebration of the rededication of the Temple was instituted and continues to this day.
There is much more to say about the story of Hanukkah, but what I wanted to draw your attention to was the fact that while this was an amazing victory, the rule of the Maccabees was very short-lived, lasting for less than 50 years! In the grand scheme of Israel’s long history of almost 4,000 years since Abraham, a 50 year time span is infinitesimally small. So why does Hanukkah continue to matter to the Jewish people today? RIPPLES.
The ripples of Hanukkah aren’t a result of how long the “Maccabees rock” touched the water, but in the legacy of the ripples produced. Just like ripples in a pond that start out small at first, then suddenly grow to expand and touch nearly everything in its path, so too, when we take what little we have, give it to God, the Lord grows the increase exponentially! Sometimes it seems that compared to others, our life feels so insignificant, a drop in the ocean, a mere 50 plus years of existence…work, home, sleep, and repeat.
But the message of Hanukkah is how wrong this thinking truly is! God has given us an exact amount of time for our “rocks” to hit the water, but time doesn’t determine the length or reach of the legacy of our ripples: GOD DOES!
The Maccabees effected positive change in the Jewish people for thousands of years, bringing hope, inspiring courage, and turning the hearts of the children of God back to their Heavenly Father. I believe God wants to tell you this year, no matter how much time you have left, a lot or a little, your legacy of righteousness, goodness, and peace can last many lifetimes and impact greatly the Kingdom of Heaven. So this Hanukkah…no matter how long you have known a person, inspire positive change! No matter how long you have worked in a place, be a blessing! No matter how long you have been a believer, love more! This is the message of Hanukkah: Anyone can make a difference, just let your “rock” hit the water, and let God do the rest.