Even Jesus Celebrated Hanukkah?
Jesus Celebrated Hannukah
Not many of us in the Western Hemisphere know the beginnings of Hanukkah or Chanukah (“DEDICATION” in Hebrew). We celebrate Christmas here. How many days of Christmas are there in Israel anyways? Perhaps that’s what most of us here think.
The Jewish feast started as a result of a revolt of a minor priestly family (who become known as the Maccabees). In 167 BCE (Before the Common Era, same as BC), the Maccabees, who recognized the pagan influences adopted by the ruling priestly families of the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem, revolted against the Greek-Syrian Seleucid Empire which supported the dominant priestly families.
The Beginning of Hannukah
Against all odds, the Maccabees succeeded to take control of the city of Jerusalem in 165 BCE and dedicated the Holy Temple and Alter again after it was desecrated with pagan worship. A story is told that upon the dedication (hence Hanukkah in Hebrew) on the 25th day of the Hebrew Winter month, the Maccabees wanted to restart true worship by lighting the Temple Menorah (candles). Only one flask of oil consecrated by a high priest (and sealed with the high priest’s seal) was found. This consecrated oil was sufficient for only one day’s service. Although it would take eight days for new oil to be produced and consecrated, the Maccabees commenced with lighting the Menorah and restarted proper Temple work. The story concludes with the consecrated oil, enough for only one day, lasting the eight days. A miracle to serve as a witness that the work started in the Temple by this minor priestly family was accepted by God.
Jesus and the Dedication
“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came . . . Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.” (John 10:22-25 KJV) Jesus, who was in Jerusalem at the Feast of Hanukkah (“DEDICATION”) to do proper Temple work, simply states that the works he does are the witness of who he is. May we learn from this wise incident to dedicate and consecrate our lives to do good works of holiness and light the world.
Jesus Lights the World