Tonight at sundown all around the world will begin the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS. Is it lighting the Christmas Tree? Is it lighting up the decorations on the lamp poles of the city? No, it is the first of the 8 day celebration of the centuries old holiday of Hanukkah.
In short, this day is in remembrance of the re-dedication of the temple in Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the madman Antiochus Epiphanies (his name means the visible god who lives among you). Antiochus waged a full scale war against the Jews who refused to deny their god and bow to another. A short war broke out against Antiochus and after 3 years of guerrilla warfare, the Jews were able to once again secure the destroyed temple and remove the idols from the Holy of Holies where pigs were sacrificed and human lives were lost.
Biblical dedication takes 8 days and it takes 8 days to make the purified oil that lit the lamps in the temple. When the Jews secured the temple, only one vial of oil was found...enough for one day. Legend is that this one vial of oil lasted 8 days, thus the miracle of lights.
We know that Jesus himself celebrated this feast, even though it is not one of the 7 named Feasts of God. In the gospel of John 10:22, we see that Jesus walked through the temple courts on the FEAST of DEDICATION. It was here that he made many declarations as to who he was.
This is an interesting event to study as it is replete with parallelisms of our Christian faith today.
In either event, to those who celebrate this important and wonderful event.....HAPPY HANUKKAH!!!