Updated: Dec 18, 2020
“Hanukkah is a story of overcoming in the face of adversity. It is a story of deliverance from Hellenistic mindsets and culture.
Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah is a historical account of how the Maccabean army, against all odds, gained victory over Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Then, after the victory was won, the Jewish people stepped out in faith and rededicated their Temple to the Lord with minimal provision”.
Hanukkah takes place in between the old and the new testament. It is the moment when it looked as though the faith of God would be wiped from the earth. The people of God were being persecuted and the word of God was being destroyed. There appeared to be NO pressing against the evil that was attempting to drive out the word of God; However, a family named the Maccabees (the name means HAMMERS) stood up for God and won a battle (actually 3 battles) AND the victory ignited great faith in the Jewish people.
When the people of God went to reclaim the temple of God, they found it desecrated and filled with pagan idols. So they re-dedicated the temple back to God and this celebration was called The Dedication (the meaning of Hanukah). This festival was not celebrated in the Old Testament, only in the New Testament (this feels so significant to me). Jesus celebrated the feast of dedication. In John 10:22-30, He delivered a sermon during this feast.
During this feast, Jerusalem was surrounded by lights, as the menorahs were filled with olive oil and lit up during the eight-day celebration (in the winter season). The LIGHT was a symbol that although God‘s temple had been darkened, temporarily losing its purpose, it had been rededicated to God; hence Bringing LIGHT into the darkness.
There are two points I want to bring out as we open our hearts to the revelation of Hanukkah.
1. History repeats itself. As we look at OUR current season, we see persecution against the temple of God (the body of Christ) and intolerance to the word of God. Like the Maccabees, We have a choice to stand with God as a life-giving people.
2. Our relationship with Christ is a “form” of Hanukkah because we are the temple of the living God, a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. The lamp of our heart can become dim and we can get distracted from our purpose; Yet, we can rededicate ourselves to Christ daily asking for a fresh infilling of the oil of the Spirit. Jesus is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. He shines in and through us.
“At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 10:22-30 ESV
“Life came into being because of him, for his life is light for all humanity. And this Living Expression is the Light that bursts through the gloom— the Light that darkness could not diminish!”
John 1:4-5 TPT
Hanukkah and Christmas have many traditions and long histories. However, the good news is Believers can observe both in an honoring and transforming way.