Hanukkah for Christians

Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.  

This surprises many Christians.  We cannot fault them for such surprise.  Even those believers who read the New Testament gospel accounts can miss John's mention of Jesus' celebration - especially if they fail to read the footnotes or if their Bibles do not have such notes.  John wrote . . .
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.
John 10:22-23 (NIV)

The Festival of Dedication, also known as the Festival of Lights, is synonymous with Hanukkah.  The Festival, celebrated for eight nights and days, serves as a reminder of an event that Jews cherish.  That event was Judah Maccabee's victory over the Greek oppressors to the Jewish people.  On December 14, 164 BC (25th of Kislev in the Jewish calendar), Judah led the Hebrew soldiers to victory and restored the Temple of Jerusalem to the descendants of King David.  He purified and rededicated the Temple as the central place of worship to God (thus Festival of Dedication). 
According to tradition, during the hostile standoff, a lantern with one day's worth of oil burned, miraculously, for eight days (thus an eight-day Festival of Lights).

The fact that Jesus participated in festivals such as Hanukkah and weddings (see John 2) is worth our notice.  God created us and equipped us with a capacity for joy and celebration.  With good reason, we find joy in holidays.  We can use them as great times to remember.

During Hanukkah this year, devote some time to remembering the miracles and even the "small" wonders with which God has blessed you.  Say "thank you" with a song of praise.  Maybe even light a candle (or eight).



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