Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"Candlelight" and "Angels We Have Heard on High"

I began the tradition of posting Christmas and Hanukkah songs during holiday season several years ago. This year both holidays fall on the same day. The first night of Hanukkah is Christmas Eve.

I think that this is very prophetic in a way. Here you have the holiday of the birth of the Prince of Peace and the remembrance of the first fight for religious freedom.

The Jews, the indigenous population of the Land of Israel/Holy Land/Judea, had been occupied by their oppressors the Assyrians for generations. The Assyrian-Greek king, Antiochus,  decided to eradicate the Jewish religion from the face of the Earth and force the Jewish people to worship him as a divinity.

The Jewish People, led by the Maccabees, fought back.

The Assyrians lost that war.

Thus began the Hasmonean Dynasty, which unfortunately ended with the occupation of Judea by Rome.

As a religious Jew, many historians, and those who understand first century politics, believe that Jesus was greatly influenced by the history of the Maccabees. Remember the Hasmonean Dynasty was still in control of Israel when the Romans began their occupation of the Land of Israel/Judea less than 100 years before Jesus' birth. In fact, the hated Roman puppet Herod, responsible for so many of the great ancient Roman structures still standing today in Israel, was married to a Hasmonean princess. It was after his rule that the Romans installed the vile Pontius Pilot.

During this holiday time, when we are reminded of Good will on Earth and we revive a hope for peace, freedom and compassion, we need to remember that we live in turbulent times. In truth its not as if we could really forget. Simply turn on the news, or read a paper, or go on social media, and it's right there in front of you.

Evil and intolerance will always rear its ugly head. Sadly there is nothing ahistorical about the rise of hate. But it is when good people demand and fight for justice and righteousness that evil can and will always be vanquished. It is not an easy fight. But we need to fight the fights that are worth fighting, not the fights that are easy.

May God bless you and your families during this time of the year.

May God bless us all with strength, wisdom and fortitude.