Friday, March 23, 2018

A Light in the Darkness…

December 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Focus On Israel


Sophie Mendel sat on the ledge of her family’s front room bay window. She pressed her forehead against the cold pane and stared at the holiday display of lights across the street. It would be Christmas soon for their neighbors. For her family, it was a time of much soul-searching as to what to do about December in upstate New York. As Messianic Jews, they weren’t sure how to express their newfound belief in Yeshua HaMashiach.

Still in a stage of transition from their Hebrew origins and religion, they found it hard to jump into the overtly commercial side of Christmas celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike. Having just turned 14, Sophie desperately wanted to fit in. Confusion and doubt played a game of tug-o-war in her heart. When they had searched the Scriptures, they’d dated Yeshua’s birth to Rosh HaShana in the month of Nissan, which is September/October in the States. More confusion.

“I just don’t understand, Lord.” Sophie’s breath fogged the chilly window. She resisted the temptation to write something in the condensation and continued to stare at the icicle lights hanging from their neighbors’ eaves. She loved the way they lighted the darkness with a feeling of joy and happiness. And yet, the family didn’t even believe in the Christmas story about the Nativity. Their daughter, Joy, born in December, said Jesus was a nice fairy tale just like Santa Claus.

Another sigh escaped her lips and fogged the window again. Her mother came by just as her finger was poised mid-air. “You know I’ll make you clean that off if you touch it,” she said, laughing. She sat down next to Sophie and swept the hair away from the side of her face and tucked it behind her ear.

“What is it, Sweetie?” Hannah Mendel had a way about her that drew Sophie into her confidence. Her mother always understood and had an amazing wisdom about things. But this year, she seemed at a loss as to what to do about the Christmas festivities.

“You know,” she said, turning Sophie toward her, “Hanukkah is tomorrow. What would you like to do about it?”

Hanukkah. The Feast of Dedication. The Festival of Lights… Lights! “That’s it,” she said, getting excited. “Didn’t we just read that Yeshua said He was the Light of the world? He announced it as He walked through the Temple during the Hanukkah celebration, so His people would make the connection.”

Her mother nodded. “So?”

“So, the Hanukkiyah Menorah is a light, and the Shamash candle is a symbol of Yeshua. Don’t you see? Joy thinks we must not believe in Jesus either, since we don’t put up decorations.”

Hannah studied their bay window area, bare except for a few potted herbs. Understanding sparkled in her eyes, and she grabbed Sophie’s hands. “Well then, let’s decorate; shall we?”

While her mother framed the bay window with clear twinkling lights, Sophie got out one of their best Shabbat doilies. She placed the special silver menorah on it in the middle of the window ledge and stood back to admire the effect. It had been handed down through their family for ten generations. Each candlestick had a symbol of Hanukkah or a picture from Israel engraved around it. At 14 inches tall, it made an impressive statement all by itself. She sorted through the unique candles sent from her aunt Rachael in Tel Aviv and placed one into each holder. They were short and stubby and coated in festive colors. The sparkling white shamash, or servant candle, went into the top holder in the middle. This was the candle they would use to light the others, until all eight were lit on the last day.

Hannah unpacked their family collection of dreidels and placed them around the menorah. Sophie added the gifts they had wrapped for each day of the festival. When they had finished, mother and daughter stood with their arms around each other and gazed at the transformation of the humble bay window.

“I can’t wait until your father gets home tonight. He’ll be here at sundown when we can light the first candle. In fact, let’s light it right as he drives up, to surprise him.”

“And I can’t wait for Joy to see this, so I can tell her about Yeshua.” She paused and then asked, “What about Christmas?”

Hannah graced Sophie with her wisest smile. “One step at a time. Let’s just let His Light shine in the darkness for now. I’m sure He’ll show us what to do.”


Hanukkah Sameakh, Yisroel…. may Yeshua’s Light shine in your hearts and reveal the truth!

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