I grew up celebrating Christmas, but as I grew up and evolved in my faith, I have gone away from celebrating Christmas. I want to share some personal reflections on why I prefer to celebrate my Messiah through the holiday of Hanukkah instead of Christmas. I don’t care to judge anyone, but only to share where I am coming from in my journey.
There is often a lot of animosity between those who choose to celebrate Christmas and those who do not. This saddens me. There is no commandment in the Bible about celebrating Christmas so I certainly think it is wrong to judge another person for choosing not to celebrate the Messiah’s birth at Christmas time. The other side can be pretty harsh and judgmental too, but I don’t want to get into that here because that really could its own subject.
I personally don’t like all the trappings of Christmas with the trees, presents, commercialism, Santa Claus, and how for at least three months out of the year, it is all consuming. I find Hanukkah to be much more simplistic and refreshing. I love the lights of the Menorah and I think about how Yeshua (Jesus) said He is the light of the world in John 8:12 and 9:5. This year I have also focused on the idea of believers being the light of the world as Yeshua states in Matthew 5:14. I do want my light to shine so that others will glorify my Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).
The only place that Hanukkah is mentioned in the Scriptures is in the New Testament in John 10:22. John 10:22-39 records what happened with Yeshua and the Jewish leadership during the time of Hanukkah. It was at this time that the Jewish leaders pressured Yeshua to tell them if He was the Messiah. He spoke about His sheep that hear His voice and how they would receive eternal life. He equated Himself with God and this did not go over well with the leaders. They sought to stone Him.
Another thing that I think about with Hanukkah is how it celebrates the rededication of the temple. As a believer, my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and it too needs to be rededicated on occasion. There is so much that can come in and wreck things. It is hard to stay on track all the time.
A great deliverance happened for the Jewish people during the first Hanukkah. I think about how God delivers both physically and spiritually. I meditate on these things during Hanukkah. I do think about the birth of Messiah, the light that came into the world. To me Hanukkah is all about the Light.
There is much more that could be said about Hanukkah and the symbolism of the Hanukkah menorah, but I will leave that to others. I will focus on that Light.