Tearing Down Idols With Hanukkah


Last night started the first of 8 nights of Hanukkah, also known as the Feast of Dedication, the Feast of Lights.

Even though I am a believer in Messiah, to the surprise of many Christian friends, I celebrate Hanukkah, rather than Christmas. And I think that’s the proper thing to do for any believer in Messiah, Jewish or not! Here’s why:

  • Unlike Christmas, Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.

  • Hanukkah has a Godly background: it remembers the time when Israel rededicated the Temple to God after it had been defiled by foreign powers.

  • Hanukkah reminds us to tear down the idols in our lives and rededicate ourselves to God.
     
  • Hanukkah reminds us that God preserves His people, and His ways, even though the world continually fights it.

  • The origins of Christmas are not about Jesus.

  • Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th.

  • Christmas has become a commercialized, secular holiday, with the prominent figures being airborne fat men, flying livestock, toy-making mythological creatures and other pseudo-religious myths that have nothing to do with Messiah.

  • Hanukkah is free from Christmas’ paraphernalia – adorned trees, decorative balls, wreaths, yuletide – ancient religious ritual objects which have nothing to do with Messiah.

Christmas, for many, has become all about what gifts you receive. Christmas, for many, has become an emotion-based holiday, with family ornaments, gatherings around the tree, old childhood Christmas memories. Some would say that’s a good thing. But perhaps this deep emotional investment is why Christmastime sees more depression and suicides than any other time of year.

Hanukkah puts the focus back on God, and how he preserved us, and how we rededicated the Temple to Him after the world tried to tear it down. It showed us that the God of Israel lives, and that the chief god of Greece is nothing but a crumbling statue.

Marty Goetz, a Messianic Jew, has written a beautiful Hanukkah piano psalm. It sums up how I feel about this holiday:


You who love Messiah seek him out this season of rededication. Shalom.

12 comments:

  1. Great minds think alike (although I gotta stop flattering myself).

    I just wrote a bit down on Hanukkah, see what you think if you have the time:
    http://www.seatofmercy.blogspot.com/

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  2. Judah,

    Thanks for this. I've never understood what Hanukkah was about. I love that it is about rededicating youself to God and getting rid of idols.

    I still don't know how to celebrate it though.lol!Anyway, for me,the spirit of the next few days is going to reflect the spirit of Hanukkah as you have presented it here.

    Pam

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  3. My family has always celebrated Christmas - and now I have added Hannukah. Getting rid of Christmas would certainly bring discord, because I am the only one who "gets it" (right?). But Hannukah is a beautiful celebration. We have a feast/worship each night, our theme being "Jesus is the Light of the World". After dinner my 6 yr old son gets to pick a board game, that we all play together. It has been a blessing We have never done anything like this for Christmas. Usually it is eat a big meal, kids open presents, then watch TV. But since Hannukah is about worship, its about God, TV is off and the family is once again reunited. I love it. And quietly everyone in the family is loving it too!
    I always enjoy reading your posts!

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  4. @P.H. You had pointed me to your blog some time ago and I didn't get around to commenting. I've now subscribed. Your Hanukkah post goes further and in more detail than this one. I really like your approach.

    Fine blog readers, check out P.H Atherton's post on Hanukkah.

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  5. Have a happy Hanukkah, Judah. Blessings to you and you family.

    In Christ,
    Gary

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  6. Thanks, Gary. Hope you and your family have a good Christmas.

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  7. Amen.

    Thx Bro.

    Here is what God says to this generation regarding "man's holidays":

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ISsyO5H93U

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  8. Thank you JH! Well, your writing inspired me... ;)

    Happy Chanukah to you and your family, especially the precious new arrival!

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  9. Judah, great post. Thanks for sharing your heart. I definitely agree with your underlying point: this season has become far too secularized and commercialized. We need to refocus...this truly should be a time of year for re-dedication.

    Mike

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