Traditional festivals of light miss the truth about the true "Light of the world".
[Darris McNeely] The Jewish festival of Hanukkah started yesterday. This is a very interesting festival - every year usually in December among the Jewish people. Hanukkah goes back - the story of Hanukkah goes back - to the 2nd century, the Jewish story, when the people in Judea threw off the Seleucid yoke and had the opportunity to go back into the temple and there they we were going to reinstate all of their traditions and all of their ceremonies. They only found enough oil for one day of lighting the lamps in the temple but a miracle was supposedly performed and there was enough oil for eight days. And, so the tradition and the celebration began around this has come down to the people today of Hanukkah being a season of lights. You have this menorah - which is an eight candled, eight branched menorah - used specifically for the Hanukkah season that relates to that whole festival of lights - which is an interesting period of time because we are also into the Christmas season.
[Steve Myers] Right, a lot of people feel that Hanukkah is the Jewish version of Christmas and they're really not connected in any way. Except there is an interesting connection and it has to do with the lights themselves. At Christmas time so many people put up lights all around their house. They set up their Christmas tree. They put lights on the Christmas tree as well. And of course, at Hanukkah we got the candles that are on the menorah and they light those candles each day. In fact, some people have an advent candle that they light - for maybe many days before Christmas leading up to it. And so there is this connection of light but is it the kind of light that we should have?
[Darris McNeely] And here in the darkest season of the year - in December. You have the Christmas celebration which is based upon an ancient period of the Saturnalia festivals in Rome. You have the Jewish tradition of Hanukkah and its lights. But both of them really miss the key scriptural teaching about light which is that of Jesus Christ. In John chapter 3 and in verse 19 it says, "...the Light has come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). Jesus Christ is the true light of the world. And, still today people are not able to come to understand exactly what that light and the truth of Christ's teaching does mean. We love evil too much and we wrap the teaching about Jesus Christ around ideas, traditions and fables. Neither one of which really teach about Jesus.
[Steve Myers] That's right. Christ is left out. Commonly we hear that phrase "put Christ back in Christmas" - well He was never there. So, Christ is left out of Christmas and He is left out of Hanukkah as well. And so the challenge is much like Ephesians 5:8 says. It says, "…you are the light in the Lord, walk as children in light." And so we have that challenge to walk in spirit and truth, and worship God in a way that pleases Him - one of light, that shines the evidence of Christ in our lives so clearly.
[Darris McNeely] So, with all these human traditions around us at this time of year - Christmas, Hanukkah and whatever the custom might be. Again we challenge you - as a loyal Beyond Today viewer - go back through all we have talked about in the various Beyond Today programs and really understand who is the true light - Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. And find and worship Him in spirit and in truth.
[Steve Myers] That's BT Daily. We'll see you tomorrow.