Celebrating Hanukkah

This week we have been excited to celebrate Hanukkah as a family. Hanukkah is NOT a subsitute for Christmas in our family it is just an added eight day celebration in which we honor and remember the works of our God.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Chanukah

I love it because it is something that we do together every night as a family. It gives us the opportunity to teach our children about the miracles of God and how they can apply to our lives today. The Hanukkah menorah had nine branches, eight to remember the eight days of Hanukkah and one candle in the center to light the other candles.

Every night of the 8 days we light one candle, say the blessing, and do a Hanukkah reading together about different aspects of light! Here are the verses that we will read over the course of Hanukkah this year!

1. The Lord is Our Light (Isa. 60:19)

2. The Word is Our Light (Ps. 119:105,130)

3. We Should be a Light to Others (Luke 11:33)

4. The Light of the Body is through the Eye (Luke 11:34)

5. The Messiah is the Light of the World (John 1:4-5, John 8:12)

6. Paul Saw the Light (Acts 26:12-18)

7. If Christ is Your Light, You are No Longer in the Darkness of this World (Eph 5:8-15, 1 Thess 5:4-6, 1 Peter 2:9)

8. We need to Shine as Light (Phil 2:14-16)

History of Hanukkah

Here is a short synopsis of the history behind this special occasion. Hanukkah is an annual festival of the Jewish people celebrated on eight successive days to honor the restoration of divine worship in the Temple as after it had been defiled. The biggest lesson of Hanukkah was the power of the spirit, the ability of God’s people to live by God’s commands…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says that Lord (Zech 4:6)

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who brought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season

Around 164 BC, the Maccabees led by Judah Maccabee, wrestled Judea from the rule of the Syrian rulers. Hanukkah commemorates the recapture of Jerusalem by the Maccabees and the establishment of the temple. Once they regained control of the Temple, they began the task of purifying it. They rebuilt the temple and restored the interior and consecrated the Temple courts. They burnt incense on the altar and lit lamps on the lamp-stand to shine within the Temple. They decorated the front and renewed the gates. The Temple was then rededicated to God within festivities that lasted eight days. When they cleaned out of the temple they only found a small cruse of oil with enough oil for one day to light the lamps. They decided to light the menorah even with the small amount of oil and to everyone’s amazement the menorah miraculously burned for eight days until the new oil was available!! As they chose to honor God and get His household in order, He honored them by preserving the oil until they had enough, truly a miracle!

The dreidel is used to play games during Hanukkah, you can read online for instructions to play the game

Today we celebrate that Jesus is the light of the world and that through him we (his Temple), which was once desecrated is now in the processes of being refined, purified and consecrated for His works and purposes. Such an amazing picture of the Spirit’s work in our lives! Truly this is a miracle! Again it emphasizes the verse: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says that Lord (Zech 4:6) We don’t need to do anything to fix ourselves or purify our own hearts, what freedom! Giving Him leadership over our lives, transfers the control to Him and He completely heals and restores us!

Star of David Craft

We did a fun craft today with the kiddos. It is a star of David craft and we hung them on the tree after wards. It was SO simple but fun for them because they could really participate in it. We also talked about the significance of the Star of David in Jesus’ birth and how it led the wisemen to Him.

1. We took 3 pipe cleaners each and folded them in half. We cut one in half and attached it to the other peices to form two triangles, I then twisted them together to form a star of David.

2. They each got to choose a color of ribbon and twirrled it around the star to decorate it. If I would have had them I think popsicle stick would have been fun to use because they could have coloured on them, however the pipe cleaners worked just fine.

3. Tie a bow at the top and we hung them on the tree (you can hang them where you want). They are cute, festive, and mess-free!

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Chanukah

Jesus is the light of the world, may you embrace that truth as you seek to know Him today! May you be restored and rebuilt on the foundation of our Savior and may to have a very Happy Hanukkah this year!!

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