Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Chanukah

This year the Jewish calendar is late so the celebration begins at sundown today and goes to January 2nd. These dates translate to 25 Kislev to 2 Tevet on the Hebrew calendar.

Chanukah or the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple more than 2,000 years ago. At that time the Temple had been seized, and Judaism had been outlawed. Judah Maccabee and his followers fought for three years for their freedom and successfully recaptured Jerusalem and the Temple.

History teaches that the Maccabees found only one small bottle of oil to be used for temple rituals, but that oil lasted eight days and nights. The miracle of this enduring light, remembered through the lighting of the Menorah, continues to symbolize the triumph of faith over tyranny.

I choose to honor this celebration and all Jewish holidays for one reason. My Lord, Jesus Christ (Yeshua Hamashia in Hebrew) was Jewish, and he celebrated all of the feasts and the holidays, and if he had been on this earth when this victory was proclaimed, I rest assured that He would have celebrated also.

There is some confusion about the actual spelling of Chanukah. Part of the reason is due to the fact there is no exact English translation of the Hebrew word for Chanukah. So out of the thirteen spellings, I prefer this one.

Shalom, my friends and have a Happy Hannukah!


  1. An Ordinary Christian said...
    Is Chanukah mentioned in the Bible at all? Isn't it really a holiday that became so popular because it happened to be at the same time as Christmas? The culture doesn't recognize the other more important Jewish holidays much, after all.
    Bonnie S. Calhoun said...
    I'm glad you asked, Andrea.

    No, Chanukah isn't mentioned in our Bible because the events happened in 165 BC, but they are told in detail in the books of 1st and 2nd Maccabees.

    You can find these books in the Apocrypha, the Jerusalem bible, the (RSV) Revised Standard Version has the Apocrypha, and the (NAB) New America Bible.

    It has nothing to do with Christmas. It marks a historical victory for the Jews over oppression. In our culture we could equate it with the 4th of July, but with a miracle added in.

    The Hebrew calendar can have any where from 353 to 385 days. (That would be a whole lesson for me to explain). So it's just coincidence that it lines up with Christmas this year.

    You must realize that by the time Jesus was born, no one even spoke Hebrew anymore, let alone recognize commemorative holidays (that's why the New Testament is written in Greek).

    We as christians should never ignore our Jewish roots. Some people today don't like to hear that, but the reality is that we revere the Holy Bible as the word of God. That book is the history of 14 generations of the Jewish nation.

    As for the other feast days, we see Jesus celebrating Passover in the New Testament. He shows us the new meaning of the Passover Lamb. He became it for us. He is also the FirstFruits fullfillment, and on and on...

    He is the fullfillment of all of them except the Feast of Trumpets...which is yet to come at His return.

    Each and every one of those feasts are in the Bible, and God explains the reason for each and that they should be celebrated forever.

    Jesus was a Jew. I don't understand how we can try to ignore that or the history of the Bible. Sometimes I think we as Christians get stuck on where we are and forget where we came from. The original, beginning church were all Jews.

    And lastly, there are many christians that do recognize the Jewish feast days as celebrations from God.
    Ballpoint Wren said...
    Good post, Bonnie! You are a woman after my own heart!
    Bernita said...
    Oh, well said, Bonnie!
    Mindy Tarquini said...
    Hey there.

    We're a mixed family. We started lighting our hanukia yesterday. In the Jewish calendar, Hanuka is a minor holiday. The major holidays are Tish'bov, Succot, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Passover. The gift-giving that now symbolizes Hanuka is more for the kids. A bunch of adults lighting the candles aren't typically going to start handing gifts off to one another. That's kinda silly.

    Our kids are hoping they'll be some more gifts this year for Hanuka, but there birthdays were not long ago, they got a nice gift for Christmas and adding Hanuka with a bunch of gifts goes over the top. Especially since these kids lack for nothing anyway.

    What's important is that they light the lights, say the baruchas and understand the meaning of the holiday and the miracle of hanuka.

    Hanuka gelt and the dreidel game goes back forever. This was always a holiday of wonder.
    Bonnie S. Calhoun said...
    Oh, Andrea, I'm sorry that I forgot to answer your original question. I was just so busy with relatives, but YES...Hannukah is in the Bible and Jesus did celebrate it. John 10:22, it is called the Feast of Dedication...

    And M.G, ah yes, I remember the Barachas well, from when I studied Hebrew, so that I could read original scripture....Baruch ata, Adonai Eloheinu, melech haolam, asher kideshanu bemitsvo tov, vetsivanu lehadlik neir shel Channukah......

    So very cool being able to speak the original language that God first used with man!
    Mirtika said...
    Bonnie, I see your friendly face over at Brenda Coulter's site all the time, and I finally moseyed over to visit.

    Love your website (the quotes along the side, the reviews). I'm so glad I finally found ya. :)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, babe.
    Unknown said...
    I am thrilled with the Holy Spirit. Some of you may not concure with my testimony. Around 2002 until the present a particular phrase began to manifest itself over and over in the moments I would pray in toungues. So prevelent was it and the feeling so great, I started useing it often whether speaking in toungues or not. I found out over the years that Yeshua meant Jesus. Today I wanted to see if I could sound out the second and find it on Google. It was Hamashia. The Spirit taught me Yeshua Hamshia before I ever knew what it meant. And that's my testimony and I'm sticking to it. :-)

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