GENERAL GUIDELINES TO CELEBRATING HANUKKAH
The Feast of Dedication – Hanukkah – is an annual eight-day celebration that celebrates the overthrow of pagan sun god worship in God's Temple and the rededication of His Altar in Is-real. I am not minimizing this holiday's application to Israel when I say Is-real, I'm trying to touch-on a specific point for everyone. Hanukkah is about purifying your body and your altar (i.e., heart), so you can be a part of His pure and spotless Bride.
During this celebration, I see those who have overcome overwhelming odds to take a righteous stand against the world-dominating force as “Maccabees.” The name “Maccabees” means hammer, like the instrument used to drive the nails into Yeshua's hands and feet. I also personally see the Maccabee hammer as a gavel in a judge's chamber that vibrates at the frequency of freedom.
Even though the eight day miracle of oil is suspect, the menorah (lampstand) itself is from God's Temple; and since Hanukkah was known as the Feast of Lights in Yeshua's Day, in my mind and spirit the custom of kindling a Hanukkah menorah passes God's sniff test. We simply have to remember that the historical miracle it symbolizes is the eight day re-dedication of the Altar and the cleansing of His Temple. We can also celebrate the fact of Yeshua's miracle of touching us who were born blind from birth about Christmas, but now we see. Having offered this Golden Calf as a burnt offering (which is a symbolic offering to the LORD that is burnt up in its entirety, so there is nothing to go back to), we go to the Pool of Siloam (Sent One) to wash our eyes. Now Hanukkah represents us ascending and descending in order to be sent out as blazing new wine into the world as the light of the world.
The main prophetic reading for Hanukkah is Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Instead of publicizing the menorah miracle, we are making known the altar miracle of the re-dedication of our hearts to worshiping the One True God, as He has prescribed in His Word. The Feast of Dedication is all about I AM being lifted up, so He can draw all men unto Himself (John 8:28).
Hanukkah is known as the Feast of Dedication (first and foremost), the Feast of Lights, and the Feast of Miracles. Many people celebrate Yeshua being conceived on Hanukkah, but since God chose to hide this fact, we should take note and simply celebrate the things that are made known to us and celebrate as Yeshua did. The sheep of the Good Shepherd's pasture know His voice, and they will not celebrate another.
Please remember that Yeshua walks in Solomon's Colonnade - the place where believers meet - during Hanukkah: “And it was Jerusalem the Feast of Dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the Temple in Solomon's Porch” (John 10:22-23 KJV). On this note, I'd like to share the simple way my family celebrates Hanukkah.
The main focus of our Hanukkah celebration centers on lighting the Hanukkah menorah and having a festive meal with family and friends. I have found that every godly thing I loved about Christmas has a place in our Hanukkah celebrations without any stress or strain. The peace on earth sought by all men during Christmas actually resides in Biblical Feasts, including Hanukkah.
MEALS & DECORATIONS
My family takes turns hosting a Hanukkah dinner. We have found it difficult to meet all eight days, so we gather together when we can. Even though we try to cook something special during this time, I remember having mac-n-cheese in remembrance of the Maccabees and our own struggle for freedom. It's now an annual tradition in our home that my husband makes a prime rib one of the nights.
In an effort to keep things simple, I made Hanukkah meals the focus of my decorating skills. Fine linens, special plates, and napkin holders are the order of the days in our home. I always place our Hanukiah (Hanukkah menorah) in the center of our table. If you don't have a Hanukiah, tea candles will work.
Personally, I like fresh flowers too. The rest of the dining area is decorated with signs and decorative cutouts I've collected. I have also gotten some special simple surprises at times for each place setting, like a piece of chocolate in the shape of the menorah. Plenty of candles are placed throughout the house.
We have given small gifts throughout the years, especially since we laid down Christmas when my son was five-years-old. My son has gotten used to his yearly supply of socks and pajamas with each being given on a separate night. I've notice that the gifts are getting much less frequent, and people don't even seem to mind. Personally, one of my love languages is giving, so I really enjoy giving the perfect gift to someone; but we were also convicted about getting rid of materialism. I try to decorate with the cool colors of blue and purple with some white thrown in. We sometimes hang snowflakes in the front window, and have also hung white lights out side too, but in recent years we have not. Your creative imagination can guide you as you search to honor what was done during the Maccabean years, Yeshua's years on earth and your own personal story of overcoming.
UNDERSTANDING THE LIGHTING THE CANDLES
When we light the Hanukkah menorah, we “do” a devotion. In the “Blazing New Wine of Hanukkah” booklet, there is one set of devotions for Hanukkah. (It’s free via Kindle Unlimited. However, Amazon no longer allows me to sell the shorter paperback version; therefore, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in purchasing a paperback copy.) Also, the “Let There Be Light! Hanukkah Meditations” book has eight unique sets of devotions. (Available at https://www.amazon.com/Let-There-Be-Light-Meditations/dp/0998598208/).
My family kindles the Hanukkah lights for that night, and then we read the devotion and discuss it. Some of our best moments are the discussions and breaking bread together. It's really all about Yeshua and His believers celebrating Him and one another.
When we kindle our Hanukkah menorah each night, we start with one candle on the right outermost edge from the one lighting the candle; and then, we add one candle each night. I don't believe that we need to be religious about “how to” kindle the Hanukkah lights, the importance is that we light them in honor of Yeshua's celebration of this holiday and us joining Him in it. My family likes to start from the right to the left, because that is how Hebrews read. I've heard of other people who start with all eight candles and decrease it each night. To each their own, but personally, I like my light symbolically increasing during the Feast of Re-dedication of my heart.
You will notice on a Hanukiah that there's one candle holder that is either higher or set apart. You can simulate this with tea lights too. The set apart candle is called the shamash or servant candle. It's symbolic of Yeshua not coming to be served but to serve as well as Him being literal The Light of the World that lights the other lights of the world (us):
“Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be the servant of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44-45).
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world’” (John 8:12; John 9:5).
On the first night of Hanukkah, after sundown, the shamash candle is lit, which in turn is used to kindle the first candle in the Menorah. The second night, we light the shamash again and use it to light the two right candles. This continues through the eight nights of the Hanukkah. You get the idea.
I hope this helps you to do what Yeshua (Jesus) did – celebrate Hanukkah – the rededication of your heart to the Most High God and the cleansing of your body!
This information and a divine discussion had during the eighth Melchizedek Mentoring Class is also available toward the