Top Ten Reasons to Celebrate Hanukkah
It seems that no matter what holiday is celebrated there is the public relations version and the historically accurate reality. Such is the case with the Pilgrims first Thanksgiving meal with the Native Americans. It’s a great public relations picture about a joint meal and an unlucky turkey, but far from reality. Just ask the relatives of the Native Americans sitting on the ground.
In the same way, the Hanukkah celebration has morphed from an epic battle for freedom and dedication into a story about only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days. Dare I say it? Myth not reality. Just read the book of 1 Maccabees.
Regardless of reality, the menorah is the logo of Hanukkah as the turkey is the icon of Thanksgiving. However, today is not a day to pull off the warm covers of our comfort celebrations in the midst of these cold dark days of late November. Rather, I want to focus on an amazing opportunity for God’s people to add a little spice to our Thanksgiving and Hanukkah table conversations. The last time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlapped was in 1888 and the next time they will sync up is about 77,000 years from now. Do the calculations. With this in mind, let’s take advantage of this once in a lifetime joint celebration I call Thanukkah!
Before you charge me with making an unholy alliance between Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, even the Jewish sages made the same connection over 2,000 years ago.
A miracle was performed with the oil when they kindled the lights of the menorah. In the following year, the Sages established these eight days of Hanukkah as permanent holidays with the recital of Hallel and Thanksgiving. (Shabbos 21b, Babylonian Talmud)
Okay so the sages added some tradition to the actual historic event. Even so, the word Hanukkah is from the Biblical Hebrew phrase חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ Hanukat Ha-Mizbeach which means- The dedication of the altar. This phrase is found in (Numbers 7:10,11, 84 and 88 and 2 Chronicles 7:9) The same phrase is also found in the historical book of I Maccabeus 4:56 and 59, which records the first 8 day Hanukkah celebration. Sorry folks, no miracle menorah lamp oil included. However, what did happen is a bigger miracle than 8 days of oil and should give God’s people a reason to celebrate for the next 77,000 years!
Here are ten great reasons for God’s people
to be thankful for the historical Hanukkah.
[SCROLL DOWN FOR WRITTEN LIST]
After you have your Thanukkah meal, get a piece of Apple Pie Spice Rugelach, sit down and watch The Open Door Hanukkah Weekend Special! The entire four presentation Stand against the Ban series with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon is available free with no registration required. Just grab your family and friends (and some leftovers) and click and play the series on your computer throughout the entire weekend.
Remember this is the last weekend to see the entire Open Door Series before it is moved to the Premium Content Library. Let the celebration continue!
- The Hanukkah event provides an opportunity for common-ground dialogue between Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters.
- The historical setting of Hanukkah helps to better understand the context of parts of the Old and New Testament.
- A study of the religious and political context of events leading up to Hanukkah is essential to understanding the First Century. In fact, Jesus/Yeshua acknowledged Hanukkah/The Feast of Dedication (John 10:22).
- The example of the Jews who stood-up against their Greek persecutors serves as a model for those who must stand-up against present and future persecutors.
- The events of Hanukkah are given in prophetic detail in the book of Daniel as a future time of persecution and redemption.
- Studying the victory of the remnant of Jews over the Greeks during the time of Hanukkah gives us confidence that anything is possible with God.
- The Maccabees (Translated as the hammers) provide a foreshadow of the coming Messiah.
- Hanukkah helps us understand the connection between faith and action!
- The prohibition by the Greeks on the Jewish people against living God’s Torah, keeping God’s appointed times and proclaiming God’s holy name is a present-day challenge for God’s people today!
- The rededication of the altar חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ Hanukat Ha-Mizbeach serves as an invitation for God’s people to rededicate our lives to our Heavenly Father.