Hanukkah, the Jewish “Festival of Lights,” may be best known for the lighting of the menorah and the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days in the Temple following the Maccabean revolt. But the true heart of the Hanukkah celebration is the cleansing of the altar and the rededication of the Temple after this small group of Jewish farmers had defeated their enemies. Just as there are eight candles burning on the menorah during the celebration of Hanukkah, there are at least eight good reasons for Christians to celebrate Hanukkah.
Here are EIGHT REASONS why Christians may wish to celebrate Hanukkah this year:
- Because Hanukkah is found in the Bible. It’s a biblical feast and celebration of the Jewish people. In John 10:22 we see that Christ engaged in the celebration of Hanukkah.
- Because we all need times for a new dedication and recommitment of ourselves to God and to a deeper level of service to the Lord.
- Because once again the land of Israel is under the leadership of the Jewish people. This restoration was promised in the prophets, and Christians should celebrate that we are yoked together with Israel and the Jewish people.
- Because Hanukkah foreshadows the days of the complete fulfillment of the messianic prophecies, where we see God’s kingdom and God’s rulership on earth as it is now in heaven.
- Because celebrating Hanukkah looks forward to the end of anti-Semitism, persecution and the desecration of Jewish people in our day and age.
- Because as Christians we should join with Jewish people in the bold proclamation of their faith by celebrating Hanukkah.
- Because we are showing our oneness today with Judaism, with the State of Israel, and with the Jewish people everywhere that remain in the Diaspora as our elder brothers in the faith.
- Because in celebrating Hanukkah we reconnect ourselves with the Jewish Jesus and return to our Hebrew roots—to recognize them, to be thankful for them, to engage with them, and to learn more deeply the ways that were the ways of Jesus.
- John 10:22-24. “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, ‘How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.’”
- “We should live our lives as Christians in oneness with the Jewish people in their fight against anti-Semitism, because their fight is our fight.”
- “As Christians celebrating Hanukkah, we can celebrate the bold proclamation of Jews down through the centuries that say, ‘We will not bow down to the idolatry of this age.’”
- “There’s something very important in the coming together of Christians and Jews in today’s world. Hanukkah can be a bridge for us to see that happen.”
- Go back and read the book of Maccabees, the Jewish encyclopedia, and the other sources to find out for yourself what was done and how it was done—so that Hanukkah will create in you a oneness with our Jewish brothers and sisters.
- Take time in this holiday season to open your heart, your mind, and your spirit to reconnect through the celebration of Hanukkah with the Jewish roots of our faith so that you will find something new and alive in your own Christian experience.