Should Jesus Followers Celebrate Hanukkah?

menorah

Jesus did.

With Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, God’s presence seemed to cease. 400 years passed, during which time, like the 400 years the Israelites had spent in Egypt, God was silent. Where was he? Had he abandoned them? God’s people waited for their Messiah, and for the Elijah-like prophet Malachi had said would prepare the way for him (Malachi 3:1, 4:5).

They kept the light of faith burning.

And then the unthinkable happened: In 167 B.C. the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes IV arrived.* Foreshadowing the Antichrist, Epiphanes (nicknamed Epimames, “the Mad One”) murdered 40,000 Jews and sold another 40,000 into slavery, then set up a statue of Zeus in their Temple and began sacrificing pigs to it.

God’s people could take no more.

The heroic Maccabees rose up and, against impossible odds, overthrew the unstoppable tyrant. They cleansed the Temple of abominations and relit the sacred menorah, but they only had enough oil for one night. Yet miraculously, the Torah says, the candles stayed lit for eight days—until new oil could be brought.

Hanukkah commemorates those eight days with a nine-candled menorah, a light for each day, and one for their Source. But God’s presence had yet to be fully felt; the Source of those lights, of all light, had yet to come and dwell among them.

Another 200 years passed before the prophecies were fulfilled, before, as John 10:22-30 tells us, Jesus, the Messiah, entered the Temple on a winter’s day during the Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah.

Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. Whether we do or not, let us honor the light of faith it commemorates. And above all, let us honor its Source, the Light of the World who came to dwell among us.

“For the people who walk in darkness will see a great light; and upon those who live in a dark land, that light will shine.” ~Isaiah 9:2

*I am indebted to the Messianic Jewish website faithfulperformance.com for much of the information contained in this post.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Should Jesus Followers Celebrate Hanukkah?

  1. John S says:

    AMEN…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I may not be one of faith but I thoroughly enjoy the information, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ellie894 says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you for taking time to read mine. Although I write differently than you do my faith is also behind all that I do. Take care 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hadn’t quite realized that the feast of Dedication was Hanukkah. Thank you! Love this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. numrhood says:

    john 35:47-55, isaiah 34:03

    Like

  6. Oooooh, that story gave me goosebumps.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jnelson521 says:

    Great post, and very well said. Thanks for sharing. I recently just posted something similar. I would be honored if you were to check it out. https://joshuanelsonblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/celebrate-light/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Daedalus Lex says:

    Enjoyed your post as usual. It is my understanding that Jesus was born, lived, and died a Jew. Christianity emerged as a religion after the cross.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      In a sense, yes. But if one understands Christianity to mean following Jesus, being his disciples (which is certainly what He intended), then it began the moment he told Peter and his brother Andrew, “Come with me and I will make you fishers of men.”

      Liked by 2 people

  9. We will be joining Jewish friends again this year at temple to celebrate Hanukkah. Please keep them in prayer — that they come to know the Messiah has come. I have shared what I believe (Jesus), but they do not believe in the “J-Man,” as they call him. I have learned that many Jewish people adhere to the belief that acceptance of Jesus is somehow a denial of their Jewishness. :/

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Squid says:

    Reading this on the way to our synagogue where my family and I are leading worship for our Hanukkah service! God’s timing is always perfect. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nyara says:

    I loved it from the minute it said “Jesus did.” Beautiful. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Jennie says:

    Great post, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. revruss1220 says:

    Great post! Thanks for making that connection.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Nancy Ruegg says:

    LOVE the way you brought Hanukkah and Christmas together, Mitch, with the theme of Light. Along with the story of the Macabees and the miraculous supply of oil, we could also celebrate the miraculous Light Jesus brings to our lives. Surely there are enough scripture passages on the theme of light to share one with each candle-lighting (the Light of his presence, the Light of the World, the Light of Life, etc.). Just might have to get a menorah!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Paula says:

    The season of lights, however we want to interpret “light.” thanks again, Mitch. I’ve read parts of the Apocrypha, including the Maccabees. Interesting stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ellen says:

    Well, of course Jesus did, he is Jewish.
    Christianity came about because of Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As a Christian who celebrates Hanukkah, I am so happy to see this post!! Jesus is indeed the Light!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. chaddamitz says:

    Thanks for the post, Mitch! I had the pleasure of celebrating Hanukkah for the first time with my messianic brothers and sisters in Yeshua the Messiah. Keep spreading the good news!

    Liked by 1 person

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