Monday, December 14, 2015

Eighth Day of Hanukkah - The Light of Life Shining in Community and a Prayer for Healing

The eighth candle represents life, light and new beginnings.  

Diving into the richness of the Hebrew language:

The name of the eighth candle is "Het" since "Het" or "Chet" is the eighth letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  As such, it carries strong symbolic meaning - it looks like a wall or a fence, and is made of the previous two letters (Vav and Zayin) joined at the top.

Het is the letter of life.  For instance, chayim (life) and chayah (living) both begin with it.  The word for devotion, chasidut, also begins with Het; this fact gives rise to the idea that "true life begins with devotion to God". 

Het is also the letter of light - Vav represemts the "yasher" light that descends from God and Zayin represents the "chozer" light that ascends or returns to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 
(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)...
Ephesians 5:8-9

Finally, since Vav represents people or others and Zayin represents time, Het is a picture of spending time in community (chavaruh)!

Seven is the number of completion, therefore, the next number, number eight, represents a new beginning point. The eighth day of Hanukkah can be thought of as a launching point, of "going out" into our immediate family, our workplace, our neighborhood, our world (all forms of community) as carriers of His light, having allowed that Light to permeate any dark corner of our own hearts and lives, and bringing the message of fresh starts and new beginnings to each person we meet!

Ideas to bring His light wherever you go

(Gather the entire family together for another brainstorming session.)  
Think about how children bring a sense of delight wherever they go ~ how can we meet others with these childlike characteristics?

As adults, we have more life experiences that might have taught us that these childlike qualities are not beneficial in all circumstances.  There could be old, unhealed wounds that would prevent us from seeing another as worthy of God's light that we carry with us.  


As you read through the above list, note if there are any instances that come to mind in which you KNOW you are unable to show these characteristics, or even narrow the exercise to one or two characteristics.  

Hold that instance in your memory and examine it: 1) are there any emotions attached? 
2) is there a hurt that still throbs? 
3) was there a lesson taught that you now know you can unlearn?

Most of our past experiences that still bring pain to our hearts are events that taught us we were unlovable and/or unworthy to receive the love of someone important to us.

The good news that Jesus brings is that He loved us so much, even before we were born, even before we understood who He was, even before we told Him we wanted Him in our lives, that He did what was necessary to bring us into a love relationship with Him.  We are loved right now, unconditionally and completely, in all of our mistakes, weaknesses, strengths and talents.

Any place in our hearts that carries wounds of not being loveable can be transformed by inviting His light and life to enter in.  

THIS is the message of the eighth candle!

Older children may have painful experiences, too.  They may be able to do this exercise on their own, or you might lead them through it as a gentle "walk along besider", just as the Holy Spirit walks beside you and helps you!

A Prayer for Healing (2)

Ask Jesus to bring His light there. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Ask Him to make it clear to you.

Jesus, I invite you into this broken place within me (this wound, this memory). I give you total access to my heart. Come, Lord, shine your light here. Reveal to me all that is going on here. What is this about, Jesus? Come and show me, meet me here, in this place.
Ask Jesus to speak a word about this area of woundedness:

Jesus, come and lead me in healing this brokenness in my heart. Speak to me here, Lord. What are you saying to me? Give me ears to hear and eyes to see what you are revealing. Let no other voice speak but you, my Lord Jesus, and you alone.

It is probably safe to say that we may not have handled our hurt or brokenness well.  We may have pushed it down, or tried to fix it in our own power, or tried to mask it with things that became addictions. Jesus often shows us these places too, and we can renounce these acts and confess our sin that connects to our wound.

Jesus, forgive me for the ways I’ve mishandled my brokenness. You alone make me dwell in safety. Forgive me for all my self-protection and self-redemption, and for all my false comforters. (You’ll want to renounce specific sins you are aware of here.) Cleanse my heart of every sin by your shed blood.

I now break every agreement I have made with Satan and his lies. (Get specific here. What have you believed, bought into?) I renounce any claim I have given to my Enemy, and in the name of Jesus, I command him to flee.

Jesus, come now and do as you promised to do—heal my broken heart and set me free. (Listen here for what Jesus is saying.) Bring this place into your love and healing, bring this place home. I welcome your healing, and I welcome this part of my heart home. Come, bind me up and make me whole.


Jesus' life and light in you become brighter and brighter as His healing power takes hold.  This is when we truly bring His presence into community: our family, our neighborhood, our work, our world.