Hanukkah!? does it have any relevance to Christians?

First, what is Hanukkah?

Well here is a super short summary.  Way back when, when Israel was ruled by another nation, that nation’s rulers decided to force Jews to follow their ways with, among other things, eating pork.  One Jewish man, and his sons, stood up and said, “No!”.  They succeeded in throwing off the oppressors for a while.  They regained control of the Temple in Jerusalem, sanctified it, and started worship there again.  There is a tradition about a miracle taking place for eight days during the Temple sanctification, and from that comes the eight days of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is celebrating the restoration of the Temple back then (it’s really not about the defeat of the oppressing nation).

That’s its history.  But what about today?

I’ve heard many compare Hanukkah to Christmas.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Hanukkah is the antithesis of Christmas.  Hanukkah is about not assimilating into the world around us.  Christmas is, well, the opposite.

Hanukkah is a time to question our lives in view of removing anything that does not please our Lord and Savior, Yeshua (Jesus).

Hanukkah is about rededicating our lives to obeying our father, Yehovah (the LORD).  Even if we have to go against the crowd.  That man and his sons way back when stood up against both the oppressing nation and against their fellow Jews who were all for what the oppressor wanted.  Following God is not always (or not usually) going along with the crowd.  It may ‘cost’ something, such as giving up a tradition dear to us.

Here are a couple other tidbits about Hanukkah.

Hanukkah can truly be called a “Jewish Feast.”  The other feasts, Passover, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, and even the Sabbath, are called by God, “His appointed times.”  (See beginning of Leviticus 23).  But Hanukkah was started by Jews to remember something good that happened: people turned back to following God as He wanted.

Yeshua (Jesus) likely observed Hanukkah.  In the book of John 10:22, we see Yeshua being at the Temple during the feast of dedication.  That’s another word for Hanukkah: feast of Dedication.

Hanukkah shows us another thing.  Yehovah (the LORD) leaves us the opportunity to make our own traditions and holidays, as long as they glorify Him, and don’t include the ways of the nations.

So, for the next week, be thinking about your life and your traditions.  Is there any place where something needs to be cleaned out and your life rededicated to God?  It’s supposed to be a joyous time, and it is a joy when we find that our God loves us so much that He will show us how to make our lives more pleasing to Him!

Shalom!   – Yosef

 

 

5 thoughts on “Hanukkah!? does it have any relevance to Christians?

  1. Even some Messianics (really religious ones who think “anything outside of Leviticus 23 is an evil abomination – even birthdays, thanksgiving, etc”) equate Hanukkah with Christmas, some calling it an “evil abomination”. Which couldn’t be further from the truth!

    • Yes, that is unfortunately quite true. Such attitudes are missing a wonderful truth about Yehovah (the LORD) and his word to us. And this truth is to be found in many places in scripture, including Leviticus 23. And the principle is that Yah leaves room for us to grow our own traditions around his feasts, and even make our own feasts (as long as our traditions and feasts do not go against His word). The book of Esther is another place where this is shown.

      Yet, on the other hand, within the last couple decades or so, Hanukkah has been “acquiring” many traditions that are not so good. So much so that it is often referred to as the “Jewish answer to Christmas.” That is a complete antitheses of what Hanukkah (and all of God’s word) is about. We need to return to God’s word and celebrate Hanukkah for what it is about: not assimilating the ways of other cultures into our worship of Yehovah (the LORD).

      And perhaps the call to drop Hanukkah is not so far fetched considering all of what has been added to it in the last few decades. However, with Hanukkah, at least there are good roots to return to. Not so with many other feasts, Jewish or Christian.

      Back to your comment. It points out a perfect application of the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 14, specifically verses 1 – 10. Whether we be those who hold only to what is in Leviticus 23, or we be of those who believe the inclusion of other special days is okay, we are to treat one another with respect and love as brothers and sisters in Yeshua (Jesus), and not judge one another.

      Shalom! – Yosef

    • A short, concise telling of the history can be found at: https://hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Winter_Holidays/Chanukah/chanukah.html
      Or just google ‘Hanukkah’ or ‘Chanukah’ if you want a more Jewish perspective.

      As for a book, there are some books by well respected authors that talk of God’s feasts as well as Hanukkah. It depends on whether you want to read about it from a Jewish or a Christian perspective. Many years ago I read an excellent book by a Christian author regarding God’s feasts. I no longer have the book, but I think it was, “God’s Appointed Times” by Barney Kasdan. A search on Amazon or other book site for “God’s Feasts” or “The Lord’s Feasts” or “God’s Appointed Times” will come up with some good suggestions (and many not so good).

      Hope this helps a bit,
      Shalom! – Yosef

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