Hanukkah for believers in Messiah Yeshua [Guest Post]
The following is a guest post by Jamin Taylor with Just A Bondservant.
Hanukkah is not one of the seven Feasts of YHVH found in Leviticus 23. It is an 8 day celebration honoring the rededication of the temple following the victory of the Maccabbees over the Seleucid Empire ruled by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the 2nd century BCE.
The story about the oil lasting eight days is an example of Jewish legend being added hundreds of years afterwards. Hannukah is eight days long because in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Temple was defiled during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which is an eight day Feast, so when they rededicated and cleansed the Temple later that winter, the people of Israel celebrated the eight days of Sukkot at that time. Now it is a celebration and national remembrance of God’s miraculous victory during the war.
So what value does Hanukkah have in the life of the non-Jewish believer in Messiah? Is it simply a replacement for Christmas for those who no longer celebrate that time of year? Or is there good, genuine, and spiritual reasons to celebrate Hanukkah? Consider first our Master Yeshua, as recorded in the book of John.
Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Yeshua walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. John 10:22-23 The Feast of Dedication is also known as Hanukkah. Yeshua appears to honor this holiday, and if you and I are going to care about the things He cares about, perhaps celebrating Hanukkah can be an enriching and rewarding time for our families.
As you consider celebrating Hanukkah, consider this; many people make New Years resolutions to change, or do this or that, etc. The New Year is considered a catalyst for change in many peoples lives. Hanukkah, falls at the end of the year, why not use the 8 days as a sort of “rededication” of ourselves to our God and King? Consider the words of Paul:
Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Cor. 6:19
We are the temple of the living God. What a wonderful time to celebrate the rededication of the temple, while rededicating OUR temple and commitment to God as we seek to walk in His ways.
For eight days, we gather as a family around the table, saying blessings as we light the Hanukkah candles and reading appropriate scripture. Using that time to talk about God as a family and reflect on His wonderful provision and protection. What a wonderful family time to celebrate our King!
Hanukkah doesn’t have to be just a “Jewish” thing. It’s relevance in our lives as believers is very real and can be an enriching, and rewarding time with our families, to lighten up the dark winter days and bring joy and thanksgiving to our homes.
I have put together a Hanukkah booklet to guide us through the eight nights of Hanukkah. If you would like to use it for your family, simply download the PDF here and take it to your local printer. It is formatted and ready to print front and back and be stapled into a booklet. The first night of Hanukkah is spent coloring the cover to personalize it. Enjoy!
The full article can be found on Just A Bondservant