Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Second Day of Hanukkah - Remembering Family + Giving the Blessing

So sorry this post is a day late!  Yesterday a computer virus was waging war against me, but I was finally victorious!  Praise the Lord!
Hanukkah is "The Festival of Lights" - and so we commemorate each day of the celebration with a graphic and scripture that focuses on different aspects of receiving the Light, being light for others, and reflecting the True Light, Jesus...

The second night of Hanukkah is a time of focusing on family.  So often we think of "being a light" in reference to others; to strangers in other lands, or friends and neighbors and fellow church members.  This night of Hanukkah is a time to shine light on this most precious of relationships, the family, and not take for granted the "world" that lives under the same roof as us!

Family is celebrated in two ways:  by beauty of giving a blessing and by gift giving.

Blessings are spoken after the Hanukkah candles are lit.  Anyone can speak a blessing to any other one. Parents speak blessings to their children, children speak them to parents, and spouses to one another.

There are many scriptural examples of parental blessings if you want to use Bible verses.  You may need to paraphrase them a little.  For instance:

Proverbs 27:11 [You are a wise son/daughter who makes his parents' hearts glad…]
Proverbs 10:11 Your righteous mouth is a fountain of life… 10:31 and flows with wisdom…
Proverbs 4:18 your righteous path will be like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day…
Proverbs 4:22 God's words are life to you and health to all your body…

Or you absolutely can use your own words.  A blessing generally holds these 5 basic components:

1.  Expression of active, ongoing commitment 
2. The use of meaningful touch 
 (a hand on the head or shoulder or even holding hands)
3. the spoken word (letters can count as "spoken")
4. An expression of high value
5. A picturing of a special future

Many times the blessing ends with "I love you" or "I am proud of you" being spoken gently.  

Traditionally, a husband will read/recite Proverbs 31:10-31to his wife; a wife will read/recite Psalm 112 to her husband.  Holding hands would truly make these readings special.

Priestly Blessing
The priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 is also spoken over the entire family gathered.  Consider passing this tradition to an honor that someone is picked for or who can volunteer for it.

Now is a perfect time to share other scriptures, poems, or short passages of prose that are meaningful or simply favorites of family members. You might consider reading passages about Jesus' family life such as John 2:1-13 (the Wedding in Canna) or Luke 2:41-52 (Jesus lost at the Temple).

Every night of Hanukkah is one in which small, inexpensive gifts are exchanged.  But for family night, perhaps think of a gift for a family member where there is no obligation to buy anything, but perhaps give an expression of thanks, or imagine together about a particular dream, or do something that blesses that other person that you might not normally do (requiring a bit of self-sacrifice).  Recall a moment special to you that involves that other person, and share your memory and emotions with him or her...there is no end to the possibilities!  It only takes a little prayerful and thoughtful preparation.  

A Blessing to End the Night

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe who has made us a family!  
Thank you for giving us Your example of a family in Yeshua. 
 Let us always draw near to You through Your son and our Messiah, Yeshua!  
Bless us this night with Your presence as we sleep.  
Keep us safely in Your care and draw us to Your side again.  

* Adapted from "Hanukkah" at