Listen:  147.4

The celebration of Hanukkah began in the second century AD.  So, its beginning came after the completion of the Bible. 

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that lasts eight days.  It commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar.  Since this Jewish calendar is lunar based, the first day of Hanukkah occurs on a different day each year, usually sometime between late November and late December.

The Jewish observance of Hanukkah is very interesting.  However, according to Jewish law, Hanukkah is one of the less important Jewish holidays. It has become much more popular in modern practice because of its proximity to Christmas.  Because many Jews live in predominately Christian societies, over time Hanukkah has become much more festive and Christmas-like. Jewish children receive gifts for Hanukkah; they often receive one gift for each of the eight nights of the holiday. Many parents hope that by making Hanukkah extra special their children won’t feel left out of all the Christmas festivities going on around them.

The celebration of Hanukkah, of course, is not related to Christ or Christianity at all.  It is an observance that is entirely Jewish in nature.  While most Christians either acknowledge or celebrate the birth of Christ, there is no mention in the Bible about observing Christ’s birthday.  Instead of His birth, the Lord Jesus has asked His redeemed ones to remember His death.  We read in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” 

This is the desire of the Lord found in the scriptures.  He wants all His people to gather together for a time of remembrance of Him…a time to have our hearts and minds set upon our blessed savior.  It’s a time to call to mind who Christ is and what He did for us when He gave Himself a sacrifice for our sins.  It’s a very solemn time, contemplating the suffering and death of our redeemer.  So, for every believer who is not living in sin, the Lord desires that we gather together “…with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” as we read in 2 Timothy 2:22.  His desire is that we remember Him.  This is important to the Lord and it should be of the greatest importance to us who know Him as our savior.  (147.4)