Hanukkah or Chanukah otherwise known as the Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication begins on Thursday, December 7th this year through to Friday, December 15th. So it starts in one month Kislev and ends in the next which is Tevet.
Do you celebrate Hanukkah? I do it. Not because I’m Jewish or I think I’m going to miss out on anything if I don’t. I want to be clear about this, I’m sharing with you the way in which I celebrate it and I’m telling you why I do it.
You do not need to do this but if for some reason you feel led to do it this will give you some ideas.
I want to give you a simple explanation of what this is. You need to know that there is no bible verse referencing the Feast of Dedication in the old testament because the events that occurred to create this feast happened in 2nd Century BCE which was after the old testament.
So the only bible verse that exists that points to this feast is in the new testament:
John 10:22-23 “Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.”
Honestly, the scripture just points to the fact that there is such a feast and there’s nothing that says that Jesus was actually celebrating it.
So how did this feast come about? Well, Antiochus which is a Syrian King had raided the temple and demanded that the people worship him instead of God. God raised up a family known as the Maccabees, they led a successful rebellion against Antiochus and drove the Syrians out of Israel. The Feast of Hanukkah commemorates the victory God gave the Jewish people over Antiochus and his army. Therefore, Hanukkah (dedication), is the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Now with only one little scripture referencing it you may wonder why should we even celebrate this? Well, the miracle that happened on Hanukkah is that there was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day but the oil ended up lasting for 8 days. It was God working miraculously! It’s back to the multiplication prayer again. God taking the little and making it much.
Don’t you think we should celebrate miracles? The bible says we overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony and the blood of the lamb (Revelation 12:11).
When we remember our testimonies or our miracles it taps into the spirit of the overcomer, builds our faith, builds our expectations, because we think God can do this again!!
So here’s what I do on Hanukkah, since I’m not Jewish, I use the 8 days to remember 8 miracles or powerful testimonies of how God worked in my life and I use that as a springboard for future miracles.
This is a 9 prong candelabra (Hanukiah) because the middle candle is known as the (Shamash) servant candle and this is the one used to light the other candles. Most Christians may not know this but there are actually 2 different menorahs, there is a one with 7 prongs and one with 9 that is used for Hanukkah. If you’re going to buy one please keep that in mind.
You can buy the candelabra and candles from Amazon. You’ll need to have enough candles. I think you end up using 45 in total.
So the servant candle gets lit first, then you use it to light the other candles. You put in the first candle for the first day going left to right so that on the first night you only have one candle on the menorah plus the servant candle. Then on night #2 you have 2 candles plus the servant candle and so on and so forth for 8 nights. You light the newest candle you added first each night and all the others after which means you’ll end up lighting right to left as you add the candles. Don’t blow out the candles let them burn down on their own.
Hanukkah Blessing Prayers
For the first night only (the Hebrew portion is actual sung)
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higiyanu laz’man hazeh.
Hebrew:Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.
Blessed are You,our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with , commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, she-asah nisim laavoteinu v’imoteinu bayamim hahaeim baz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.
This link has MP3 Files with the blessings sung in Hebrew, I usually press play and sing along.
It’s a Jewish prayer! Generally, after I say the prayer I then go into my own worshipful prayer where I recount my own miracle that He did for me or my family. That’s how I personalize it. I make it my own by remembering the wondrous deeds He did for me and my family. Then I take the time to make declarations or prayers for other things that I am asking Him for in this season. I think BIG. I think Miraculous! That’s the whole point – MIRACLES!!
I do it because there’s something about sitting there with your family and recollecting a miracle for 15 – 30 minutes while watching a candle burn. It’s the fact that you are focusing your entire mind, heart, soul and body on the Lord and what He has done for you and being thankful. After I finish doing this each night, I can’t tell you how rejuvenated I feel and how it shifts the entire environment. I actually look forward to this each evening. Plus I have to prepared my miracles before the prayer because each day I’m remember a new one. It’s just a great time remember miracles with your family. Think about what it does for your entire family listening to past miracles. It’s a very powerful time. That’s why I do it.
You will notice that Jewish people put the Menorah in the widow so you can see it from the outside of the house. This is how they “publicly declare the miracle”. For me, the public declaration is saying the testimony aloud with my family or whoever is present to hear it.
This year I’ve decided to add another component, since it is the Festival of Lights I thought it would be great to do some meditative scripture reading using a different bible verse each night on LIGHT. Believe me, if you get some good Hanukkah candles they can take a long time to burn out! We need something to fill the time!
Do you celebrate Hanukkah? If you do, please share below any additional tips or things that you do to add to the experience. And if you decided to do it, please come back and share how the experience was for you.