It Was Winter

Yael Eckstein  |  December 7, 2022

Yael Eckstein in Jerusalem in winter
(Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)

Hanukkah is a story of finding faith during the darkest winter nights, when everything on the outside says those lights will never be rekindled.

In the New Testament, Christians read the words of John regarding Hanukkah, and it says, “It was winter” (John 10:22). Hanukkah and the winter are very much connected.

Dark Times

I think about the story of Hanukkah, and when it happened. These were very dark times for the Jewish people, as they asked themselves, “Will God’s holy presence ever dwell amongst us again?”

How many times in our life do we go through this—feeling really close to God, but then something happens, maybe not in our control, and we feel so distant, we feel so far. And we say, “God will I ever be close to you again? Will it ever be the way that we were?”

And Hanukkah comes to say, yes. Hanukkah is here to prepare us, to prepare our body and soul, just as King David did.

A Psalm for the Dedication of the Temple

King David talks about the dedication off the Temple, yet it was before the Temple was even built.

“To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy… Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord be my help” (Psalm 30:8-10).

What King David knew was that we have to first dedicate ourselves and prepare ourselves to receive the Light of God, the Word of God, the Spirit of God, in order to be ready for that rededication in the winter.

Hanukkah is the rededication, the rekindling, of God’s holy lights.

Darkness into Light

Light one little candle in your heart. And then light two little candles, three little candles.

And every little candle we light, then we will have our full menorah, our full light shining down.

Just like King David said, “Lord, you turned my wailing into dancing… Lord, I will praise you forever” (Psalm 30:11-12).

Hanukkah does exactly that—turns the darkness into light, turns the winter into comfort, turns our wailing into dancing.

Happy Hanukkah, my friends. With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.