Hanukkah is celebration is known in the Jewish calendar as the Festival of Lights, but the word "Hanukkah" literally means "dedication" in Hebrew and comes from how the temple was rededicated to God.
The Lord promised to make Israel "a light to the nations" (Isaiah 49:6). Yeshua said of Believers, "You are the light of the world ... Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16).
We have seen single mothers who emigrated from Ethiopia telling their children, as they receive your gifts, that people half the world away love them. Elderly Holocaust survivors have told us that receiving winter blankets and heaters from donors outside of Israel has helped them to learn how to trust non-Jews again. Young IDF soldiers without any family in the country are as brave as any Maccabee, but they can be terribly lonely. When they put on the backpacks that you have donated, a funny thing happens; rather than being weighed down, they appear to carry their burdens more lightly.
As I think about the miracle of Hanukkah, how only a tiny amount of oil proved sufficient to light the great Menorah in the Temple for eight days until more help could be found, I think of how those of you who have stood by and supported Israel are the inheritors of that same miracle. There are only a few faithful compared to the great need, and so it is miraculous how much your love and faith has accomplished.
There are many still left in darkness--the darkness of poverty and the darkness of despair. We all have much more work to do to fulfill Yeshua's high calling. So, as we celebrate this year, let us expect miracles. Know that with every gift you send to Israel, "Light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart" (Psalm 97:11). That is a Festival of Lights worth celebrating!
Barry and Batya Segal are co-founders of Vision for Israel.
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