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Hallel. . .in praise and thanksgiving!

MenorahThis evening at sundown marks the beginning of Hanukkah--a significant celebration by a people who endured generation upon generation of bondage to foreign enemies.

More than 21 centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by Syrian Greeks who wanted to forcefully engulf the people of Israel.  But a small group of faithful Jews defeated an army of Greeks, drove them from the land and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to God.

As the Jewish historical narrative recounts, when they went to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a single vile of olive oil that hadn't been contaminated by the Greeks.  As it's told, miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days until new oil was prepared with the right conditions of purity.

To celebrate and commemorate this miracle, the festival of Chanukah was begun.  At the core of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting--a single flame the first night, two on the second--until the 8th night of Chanukah when all the lights are burning.

On the 8th night Hallel--Psalm 113-118--is chanted out loud as a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God for "delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the wicked into the hands of the righteous."

Psalm 113-118--such wonderfully full verses of praise! 

In the Judeo-Christian tradition of acknowledging the existence of moral law in the teaching of Christ and the prophets--we together chant Hallel!

In acknowledging Christ as Messiah--Hallel takes on even greater significance for Christians as we celebrate the coming of Christ, as Immanuel--God with us!

Evelyn Gibson
We Connect. Ministry and Media.

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