By Julia Humphrey Chanukah, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” is a celebration of God’s provision for the Jewish people in times of trouble. There is a great deal of history connected to this festival, but it is not what most of us understand. While Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus the Messiah and secular populations celebrate giving and generosity, the Jewish people are lighting candles and reciting blessings. The common thread of these celebrations is family, friends, hope for peace, prosperity, safety, love and rejoicing in God’s miraculous provision for our needs.
Chanukah (a Hebrew term that means “rededication”) celebrates a great Jewish military victory and a spiritual triumph with the Temple in Jerusalem. In that Temple, there was to be an eternal flame that had to stay lit. This was a reminder to the Jews of God’s presence being there all of the time. However, when the Jewish people came into the Temple to light the flame after their victory, there was only enough oil to keep the flame burning for one day. They lit the flame even though they knew there was not enough oil to last. The lamp stayed lit for eight days until the new oil came in. It was a miracle from God. This is how Chanukah became the “Festival of Lights.”
The Festival of Lights is a time for Jewish people throughout the world to connect with their identity as God’s chosen people by remembering His provision for them during times of war, famine and captivity. This is the only Jewish festival that is not mandated by God Himself, but created by the people after the Macabeen conflict. Each of the eight days of Chanukah a candle is lit and a blessing said. In modern times, the tradition of giving gifts was added as part of the festival.
The entire world is searching for Joy and Peace at this time of the year. Remember what God has provided for you and praise Him for His love for us! Enjoy your family, friends and food! All are gifts from God with Jesus being His greatest gift to us!
To give you a better understanding of some the Chanukah traditions, Song For Israel has prepared eight articles, which can be viewed daily on this website. Check back with us for the next eight days to see how the Jews are celebrating. As you get a sneak peak, be sure to pray for them. For those in Israel, please pray for safety in their land during their eight-day festival. For those not in Israel, pray they will be drawn closer to God as they are reminded of the miracle, that God performed with the oil in the Temple and the miracles that He continues to perform today.
December 21 - The Nine-Candle Chanukah Menorah December 22 - The Chanukah Dreidle December 23 - Latkes - A Chanakuh Tradition December 24 - Sufganiyot (Jelly-Filled Doughnuts) December 25 - Chanukah Wishes to Christians from Israel December 26 - Chanukah Gift-Giving Tradition December 27 - Chanukah Blessings December 28 – The Story of Chanukah