The HANUKKAH celebration begins tomorrow evening. Hanukkah is usually celebrated around Christmas, but for the first time in 125 years it coincides with Thanksgiving. As a family we love to celebrate Hanukkah each year. This is why we like to do it.
1. Hanukkah in the Hebrew means "dedication." God's temple had been desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BC but the Maccabees family led a revolt against the Seleucid armies and called the nation back to God. After they had driven them out of Judea and Jerusalem, the Maccabees consecrated and rededicated the temple. However, God no longer lives in a temple in Jerusalem, but lives in the temple of our hearts. We like to use Hanukkah as time to rededicate the temple of our lives to holiness and the service of the living God.
2. It is a celebration that Jesus celebrated (John 10:22-23).
3. It is also called the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22) and the Festival of Lights. It celebrates the re-lighting of the Menorah in the temple and how the light kept burning even when they didn't have enough oil. Because this celebration remembers the relighting of the menorah, we read Scriptures about God who is the light and how He also wants us to be His light in this world. We do this at our Family Devotions each morning and evening. We look forward to it every year.
If you would like to read these wonderful Scriptures with your family, I will post them below for you to print out. Feel free to use the Scriptures in the way that best fits your family. For each day, you may like to take half the Scriptures at Family Devotions in the morning and the other half in the evening. If you have older children, it's a lovely idea for each one to have their own Bible and give a Scripture for each one to read aloud--and to share what they feel God is saying through the Scripture. If you have little ones, you may only want to take one Scripture from the list and talk about it.
And don't forget to ask your children questions as you read the Scriptures. This is how you learn and receive enlightenment from the Scriptures together.
I will also send out a post each day telling you a little story or a revelation from the Scriptures about the meaning of Hanukkah. By the way, you may like to take time to read the history of the Maccabees in the Apocrypha. The books in the Apocrypha were not chosen to be part of the cannon of Scripture but the books of Maccabees, 1, 2, 3, and 4 are great historical reading and tell of how the Jewish nation was saved from extinction. I am sure God used these brave men to protect His people and also the coming Messiah. No wonder Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. I have some Bibles that contain the Apocrypha: King James Version with Apocrypha, The New English Bible, World English Bible, Knox Version, and The Jerusalem Bible. You can also get it from the Internet.
Usually Hanukkah is celebrated around Christmas time. This year Hanukkah starts tomorrow. Officially it begins at sundown, Wednesday 27th November, the day before Thanksgiving. The last time this happened was in 1888, before the date for Thanksgiving was changed to the day we celebrate now. And it won’t happen again for 77,000 years! Amazing!
SCRIPTURES FOR YOU TO READ EACH DAY TO YOUR FAMILY FOR THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
God is the Source of Light and gives Light
Exodus 27:20-21; 40:24-25; cf. Leviticus 24:1-4; Numbers 8:1-3
Exodus 13:21; Nehemiah 9:12,19
1 Timothy 6:16
Jesus is the Light of the World
Isaiah 9:2, cf. Matthew 4:12-17
Luke 1:76-79; 2:27-32
John 1:4-9,cf. Job 18:5-6; Proverbs 27:20
Shine the Light of Jesus to the world
Isaiah 58:6-8, 10
God's Word is our Light
Psalm 119:18, 105, 130
Walk in the Light
2 Corinthians 4:4-7
1 John 1:6-9
1 John 2:8-11
Out of Darkness into Light
2 Samuel 22:29 (Psalm 18:28)
1 Corinthians 4:5
1 Thessalonians 5:5
1 Peter 2:9
Living in God is to live in Light
God is the Light of Heaven
Isaiah 24:23; 30:26