“HANUKKAH” IS HEBREW FOR WHAT?
Well…did you know the answer to that question? Surprising how many folks don’t ever stop to think about it, simply because ‘that’s another one of those feasts of the Jews that we Christians don’t celebrate’! So, the answer is right there in your Greek New Testament footnotes in John 10:22, describing how Jesus was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Dedication.
You remember those pesky Maccabees, right? The Temple priestly family that wasn’t going to put up with that nasty Assyrian King desecrating the Temple and altar with statues and pig’s blood…remember? Then there was the fantastic victory over the Assyrian army with their war elephants; the one day’s holy oil that burned for eight days; and don’t forget the potato latkes that we get to enjoy as a traditional treat! We do? Now do I have your attention? Yes, there is always food coming at the end of the story. There’s a formula for remembering all these feasts in your Bible. It goes like this; “They tried to kill us…God saved us… Let’s eat!”
As I’m sure you are aware, Hanukkah shows up almost every year just before Christmas. I say, “how convenient” as we get to dedicate our temples every year as we prepare to welcome the King! At Hannukah, we, as believers, understand that our bodies have become the temple of His presence. We have been joined together as ‘living stones to become a dwelling in which He lives by His Spirit.’ So, we light the candles every night of Hanukkah to sanctify the space, invite His presence, remember the holy oil, and the incredible victory of our God over the false god of Assyria. At the same time, we dedicate our temples (our lives) to use for which we were born. We are also in a time of preparation for the coming of The King!
Are you still confident that the Feast of Dedication, aka, Hanukkah, is just another one of those Jewish feasts that we Christians don’t get to enjoy?