Every so often, the reality of walking in a prophetic topography hits me. The time/space continuum manifests before my very eyes, and I stand awed by the goodness of the Lord to keep His Word. What a honor for our generation to be walking in this aspect of Lord's manifold presence as His will unfolds in the earth today.
This Hanukkah, I had one of these experiences as I stood in the midst of approximately sixty lives spared from one of history's most horrific events - those who survived the Holocaust.
For my days have been consumed in smoke,
And my bones have been scorched like a hearth. (v.3)
Because of the loudness of my groaning
My bones cling to my flesh. (v. 5)
My enemies have reproached me all day long;
Those who deride me have used my name as a curse
For I have eaten ashes like bread
And mingled my drink with weeping (v.8-9)
Isn't that a picture of the Holocaust? (From Psalm 102)
My time with these treasured people came through an invitation to help organize a party for a group of Holocaust Survivors sponpered by a non-profit that the husband of a close friend works for. As a trained interior designer and architect, I was commissioned to manage the decorations. Not being an event planner, but a rather a pedestrian, mother-of-a-two-year-old in a land void of big-box retail, I was nervous about how it would come together. On only two days notice, it was a quite a whirlwind, but worth the little sleep, walking in the cold rain, and shed tears (because there were some!) to bless these precious people. To be honest, if I had done nothing at all, the party wouldn't have been any less beautiful, because the joy on the faces of the Survivors was all we needed.
As I prayed over what felt like an overwhelming amount of work, the word I heard from the Lord was "Do what you know." This was clear because Aviel and I have been reading the story of David and Goliath in the Jesus Storybook Bible, over and over again for about two weeks now. David had an opportunity to use the Kings armor and equipment to fight Goliath, but instead, he opted for the more humble smooth stones and sling approach, because that's what he knew.
I shopped at stores I knew of, and selected materials that I knew how to work with. I wanted to fill the space with decorative Stars of David, and flowers. During the course of researching for my Masters Thesis, I learned that during the Holocaust, while in Ghettos, and even here in Israel, Jewish families used garden making as a source of hope (see Kenneth Helphand for more information). For that reason, I wanted the Survivors to have flowers, along with traditional Hanukkah motifs.
Devin, Aviel and I spent the evening arranging tables and setting up the space. I stayed up late painting Stars that Aviel and I did not finish together, then the next morning I returned on my own to finalize arrangements and to help facilitate the party. Many of the Survivors arrived early. I was the "greeter" and spent some time talking with them while I arranged center pieces. Most spoke Hebrew and Yiddish, but we communicated the best we could. They seemed very excited about the flowers as the florist was bringing them in, and they loved the stars, especially after learning that Aviel helped paint them! "Yeshli yelid, shtiem ve hetzie." (I have a son - two and half) I'd explain, along with a few other broken sentences and hand gestures indicating that we painted together. I loved watching them fiddle with the stars and laughing together as they spun the little dreidels I put on each table.
The food was lovely. The caterer brought a table full of sufganiyot, which is a doughnut served traditionally during Hanukkah. No sooner than he had set them out, they were all gone! Seriously! The Survivors ate them in about 5 minutes time. He looked a bit panicked about it, and said, "I only brought one for each person and some of them had four or five!" Since the party was planned for one hundred and we had about sixty in attendance. Hopefully everyone who wanted a sufganiyot got one!
At the end of the party, I helped our honored guests fill out a required form related to a financial gift they each received from the host. What could have been a boring job turned into a blessed event of learning about the families and histories of each guest. Even through our language barriers, I was able to to talk to them about where they immigrated from and how many children they had. Learning about their families, caused me to reflect on how not only each of their lives was spared, but also the blessing of the lives of their children. Because they lived, their children were born, and their lineage continued.
This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.
For He looked down from His holy height;
From heaven the Lord gazed upon the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoner,
To set free those who were doomed to death,
That men may tell of the name of the Lord in Zion
And His praise in Jerusalem,
When the peoples are gathered together,
And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. (v. 18-22)
Though I am not a descendant of a Survivor, nor even Jewish, but someone grafted into the promises of Israel through the blood of Messiah Yeshua, I was gathered into the prophetic fulfillment of this passage that day. I joined in the praise of a Holy God, who set the prisoners free, telling of His name-- in Jerusalem.
Each person a true gift, and in God's mysterious sovereignty, spared from death. May they come into His fullness as He breathes life into their spirits. May they know their Messiah, that they would be spared from even greater death. (Ezekiel 37)
Thank you so much for all of your prayer support as I helped organize this party. Though incredibly blessed, life in Israel is also very challenging! I stand humbly before the Lord, knowing that 100% of what I do here could not be accomplished in my own flesh. We need your prayers and encouragement more than I can explain! May the joy and blessings I received from this special day overflow into each of your hearts and lives. B'Shem Yeshua.
Overwhelmed by Love
For His Names Sake
Hanukkah Adventures 2012
Lets Just Call it Chocolate