Jesus is the candle in the middle.
McGehee is a Christian and a Jew. She celebrates Hanukkah and not Christmas, keeps a kosher kitchen and studies the Torah.
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Four great Menorahs stood at the temple in Jerusalem, McGehee said. The wicks for the lights were made of the discarded underclothes of priests, as were the swaddling cloths of babies.
“They are the lights of the world,” McGehee said. “Jesus stood there and said, ‘I am the light of the world,’ and so they are symbolic of Jesus.”
McGehee said she and others who believe like her come from a Christian background and didn’t feel their lives fulfilled.
“(Messianic Jews) are people that began to read the Bible for themselves,” McGehee said. “They find the old testament is very vital. That’s what Jesus taught from. Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. He was born as a Jew, lived as a Jew, died as a Jew and he rose as a Jew.”
Messianic Jews know Jesus was the foretold messiah, McGehee said.
For McGehee and others like her, Hanukkah is a celebrational holiday. Hanukkah is not one of the biblically appointed feasts, she said. Rather, it is the time of a celebration commemorating the rededication of the temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians.
“It’s (Hanukkah) the light of our souls we are nourishing on this holiday,” McGehee said. “This is parties and joy over the rededication and freedom over slavery. We celebrate the miracle of the light.”
McGehee said she celebrates Jesus’ birth at Sukkot during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
“Jesus was born when the shepherds were still out in the fields,” McGehee said. “Bethlehem was at High Rolls elevation, there would be not shepherds in the fields at this time.”
As McGehee prepares her home for the holiday, which begins at sundown Tuesday, she cleans her old brass Menorah, lays out her table and her special platter for latkes (potato pancakes) and gets ready to make jelly donuts.
Anything fried in oil is appropriate for a Hanukkah feast, McGehee said. The oil stands for the oil used in the original Temple to keep the holy light burning.
“I live exactly like the Jewish people do except I believe in Yeshua, who is Jesus, which means salvation,” McGehee said.
Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration that begins on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev, which usually falls during the month of December, but occasionally begins during November.
Hanukkah (also commonly spelled “Chanukah”) means “dedication” in Hebrew. The holiday goes back almost 2,400 years, and celebrates one of the greatest miracles in Jewish history, marking the survival of Judaism.
The “Festival of Lights” refers to the legend of a miracle that occurred during the rededication of the Temple. When the Jews sought to rekindle the menorah in the Temple sanctuary (after it was desecrated by the Syrians), they could find only one sanctified jar of oil — marked with the seal of the High Priest. Miraculously, the small portion of oil burned for eight days — the length of time required to purify new oil.
During the eight days of Hanukkah, a candle is lit each night to commemorate the miracle of the oil in the Temple. Nine candles are arranged in a candelabra called a menorah – one for each night, plus the shamash or shammus (meaning servant), the candle used to light the others. Candles are lit from left to right, and the shamash is placed in the middle at a different height.
Families gather at nightfall to rekindle the menorah flames, rededicate themselves to their faith, and share in festive meals. Blessings are sung or recited as the candles are lit.
Information adapted from www.calendar-updates.com Website.