Should Jesus Followers Celebrate Hanukkah?

menorahThe festival of Hanukkah begins today. Should Jesus followers celebrate it?

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 Yeshua, the Messiah, entered the Temple on a winter’s day during the Feast of Dedication–Hanukkah. (John 10:22-30)

Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. And so whether we do as well, 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

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.

20 Responses to Should Jesus Followers Celebrate Hanukkah?

  1. An Audience of One says:

    This is something I’ve wondered about, and yet, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never studied up on it. The way you outlined it all not only clarified the question of Hanukkah, but also thrilled my heart at Jesus being our light. Thank you so much, Mitch!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. CG says:

    What a wonderful perspective! Thank you !

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Thanks Mitch…how did I miss this?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve found it strengths my understanding of what Jesus did to understand the traditions and history of the Jewish peoples before and during his time on earth. The story of Hanukkah is part of our story so yes, we need to understand it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks Mitch: Our family celebrates Hanukkah as well. Our daughter-in-law is a messianic Jew and introduced it to us. Great food, we now make our own beeswax candles. Our youngest son made a Menorah and we play the games too. It stretches Christmas out ‘a bit’ and when she sings in Hebrew, it is glorious. One candle every night is added. It takes a lot of candles! 45 candles. Love it. Norm

    Liked by 3 people

  6. K.L. Hale says:

    I’m going to keep the light of faith burning, Mitch. Thank you for teaching me. Merry Christmas to you and yours, dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. #hood says:

    isaiah 34:02 o magnify the lord
    john 35:47-55 the lord will be glad as a rose

    Like

  8. Pingback: Should Jesus Followers Celebrate Hanukkah? – Urban Fishing Pole Lifestyle

  9. Thank you for the beautiful and concise summation, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. lynn__ says:

    I appreciate this history lesson of Hanukkah…the Light shines in the darkness!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Julia says:

    The Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) was truly celebrated by the Lord. The world goes by the gregorian calendar and celebrates what they call christmas every year on this date. In Jesus’ day however He went by the Hebrew calendar and celebrated what is known as Hanukkah on the 25th of Kizlev. The following link of the Hebrew calendar will help one to better understand how the 25th of Kizlev changes yearly and this year it is the 19-26.

    https://www.chabad.org/calendar/view/month.htm

    Strength and Blessings Mitch.
    Julia

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ann Coleman says:

    I think most religions have something good to offer, and we benefit by honoring that! So yes, Christians can absolutely celebrate Hanukkah, in my opinion, and not just because Judaism basically gave birth to Christianity.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s