In the book of Romans, Chapter 12, verse 15, we are told to "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."
After many days of prayer on behalf of a friend who has suffered great loss, we had the opportunity to rejoice with friends on Tuesday evening. Both commands are great, and call us to support those around us with love. They show the heart of Jesus to those whom we share with. They offer both His comfort and His encouragement.
Tuesday night we celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with friends. Hanukkah means dedication, and is a Jewish holiday that remembers when the Temple was freed from the control of the Syrian Greeks in 165 B.C. and the Jews re-dedicated it to purify it from what the Greeks had used it for (worshipping false gods and unholy practices.) While I am no Hebrew scholar, I think I understand enough to know why our friends of Jewish heritage celebrate. Their hearts are overflowing with thankfulness of the miracle God wrought on their behalf by allowing the dedication oil (that appeared to be only enough for one night) to last for all eight nights of purification.
In the grand scheme of Jewish Holidays, Hanukkah is often considered only a medium holiday, yet one which our friends freely share with us. There is joy is rejoicing with those who rejoice! There is also great joy on our behalf, knowing that these particular friends of ours are Messianic Jews, who also worship Christ as their Savior.
For myself, this simple celebration with our friends reminds me of how God has grafted me into the vine of His people through Christ's redeeming grace. Celebrating Hanukkah with our friends reminds me that God does still work miracles of provision in our lives. His great hand that provided for the Widow of Zarephath so she could feed Elijah in 1 Kings 17, also provided the oil for the temple purification celebrated at Hanukkah. We have often seen that same great hand provide for all of our family's needs when there just didn't appear to be enough.
We know that God created all that there is (Genesis 1:1,) and He still owns all the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10,) there is no need too great for Him to provide (Philippians 4:19.) Whether you have spent your week mourning with those who mourn, or rejoicing with those who rejoice. . . please choose to join us in offering a thankful heart to the God who continues to provide for us all!