I never grew up celebrating Hanukkah. Everything I ever associated with the holiday was just a vague understanding that it involved gifts, candy, and candles like Christmas, but only for Jews.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve come to believe Hanukkah holds spiritual truth for Christians and plays an active role in the faith.
Surrounding each flame on the menorah is a story that reoccurs throughout history and one that is not over until the end of time. It is the story of Satan, the adversary, taking the form of a person driven to wipe out God’s people.
That is the refrain of history. God’s people always seem destined to be defeated by a tyrannical ruler with a vast army.
But God is sovereign.
But God is in control.
But God intervened for His people again!
His people, usually small in number, held tight to His ways, and that was enough reason for them to fight. Instead of sitting back and letting the world take over with their ideologies and traditions, they were willing to defy the odds even unto death.
Once the evil was purged from the temple, they could rededicate. They cleansed what was impure and shone light into what was dark. Our hearts should be open to follow their example by letting the light reveal our impurities so we can take them to God and be set free.
With the prayers, the fried foods, the menorah, and of course the history, we celebrate the encouraging truth that in the battle for God’s people, we are on the winning side. But victory comes with the charge to follow His ways, to be a light to the world, and to keep our temple pure.
Hanukkah not only reminds us of God’s people, but it prophecies of a future to come. Satan is gearing up for another attack and will continue to do so until Jesus returns. But if we stand on these truths, we will be an unstoppable force for when Satan strikes again.
As we wrap up this season and I’m asked why I, as a Christian, celebrate Hanukkah, my brother had the best answer:
“This is our father at work; it should be remembered and celebrated, and we should be thankful for it.”
If you want to know more about Hanukkah, you can find the historical account in the first book of Maccabees.