During Christmas we celebrate the miracle of the Incarnation, when God became man and lived among us. But did you know another miracle is also celebrated around Christmastime? This year, Hanukkah begins the evening of December 20th and lasts until the sunset of December 28th. The holiday is also called The Festival of Lights. John 10:22-23 mentions Jesus in Jerusalem during the Feast of the Dedication, yet another name for Hanukkah.
What was the miracle of Hanukkah?
A Greek ruler named Antiochus IV ruled over Jerusalem from 175 BC to 164 BC. He declared Judaism illegal, killing anyone who dared practice the Sabbath, circumcise their baby boys, or keep any other Jewish custom. Antiochus turned God’s Temple into a temple for Zeus and sacrificed pigs on the altar, an unspeakable abomination for the Jews.
This caused the Jews to launch a large-scale revolt and by 165 BC, the Jews succeeded in freeing the Temple. They rededicated and cleansed the Temple, but when the priests tried to place olive oil in the menorah, a lampstand built in Moses’ time that was required to burn each day, only one day’s worth of olive oil was usable.
The priests decided to use the oil anyway and trust God with the rest. The oil lasted eight days-the exact amount of time needed to press and make more oil.
As Christians we should care about Hanukkah because of who dwelled inside the Temple-God’s very presence and glory. To slander the Temple meant to slander God Himself. If the Temple remained lost, many Jewish people may have given up hope waiting for the Messiah. Instead, Zechariah in Luke 1:11 encounters an angel in the Temple to help prepare the way of the coming Messiah. In Luke 2:27-38, both Simeon and Anna meet their blessed Savior at the Temple after waiting for many, many years. As mentioned earlier, even Jesus, the Messiah himself, celebrates the rededication of the Temple in the Gospel of John.
When has God provided the exact amount of time needed to work a miracle in your life?
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