Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas – the Symbolic Similarities. (Dec. 13, 2015)
Today (December 13th, 2015) is the 7th day of the festival Hanukkah (Chanukah). There are many similarities and deep meaning between these two special days within the Jewish and Christian Community.
I want to start by defining what this Jewish holiday means. The Jewish holiday Chanukah comes from the Hebrew word meaning “dedication,” “consecration,” or “inauguration. Hanukkah/Chanukah is a transliteration of the Hebrew. This refers to the rededication of the second temple after the Greeks of Syria had desecrated it by using it for the worship of Greek gods and the sacrifices of pigs (2nd Century B.C.). This historical holiday is one that offers a great spiritual Jewish and Christian victory in the face of overwhelming odds against the Jewish people. This is a Celebration of the salvation of Israel when a small group of Israelites called the Maccabees liberated the temple from a mighty army of the vast Greek empire. The temple had been desecrated but when the Israelites (Maccabees) recaptured it, they cleansed and rededicated it. This is why the holiday is also referred to as the “Fest of Dedication.”
However, an issue arose after the capture of the temple. The Israelites discovered a single sealed purified oil vial to light the seven – branched menorah but that would only last for one day. The miracle is that even though they only had one day’s worth of oil, it lasted for 8 days giving the priest enough time to make more purified oil. Thus this holiday is also known as the “Festival of lights.”
The Miracle of Hanukah in 165 B.C. is not only are the Jews saved from annihilation, but the purified oil last for 8 miraculous days!
What does this mean for Christians as they celebrate Christmas? If the Jews would have been eradicated, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) would NOT HAVE BEEN BORN and we (Christians) would not have received our eternal inheritance! We must realize that He is in control even when we have overwhelming odds against us. Praise the LORD! Isn’t He awesome!
The Bible tells us that Jesus celebrated this special holiday in the temple during the winter (John 10:22). We also know that the Jesus said “I am the “Light” of the world, he who walks in me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
As you celebrate the birth of our Savior and LORD Jesus Christ, keep in mind the magnificent similarities and deep meaning that both Jews and Christians have during this special Holiday season.
Dr. Henry Vazquez, President of the Association of Clergy International – A.O.C.I.