by Brad Scott
Most Americans have heard of Chanukah. Most of what Americans understand about this festival comes from Adam Sandler's parody on Saturday Night Live. I have taught this festival in schools many times over the years. Most children believe that Chanukah is the Jews' Christmas.
Many Christians would probably wonder what business a Christian has, celebrating this holiday. The true story of Chanukah can be found easily on the internet. My purpose is to talk about the actual word for a moment. Most dictionaries define the word as meaning dedication, and this is very accurate. The New Testament has Messiah going to this festival (έγκαίνια) in Yochanan (John).
Yochanan (John) 10:22And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
The fact that we are commanded to follow the Messiah ought to be enough reason to observe it. The word comes from the Hebrew word chanuk (חנך). It is and was a common household word in a Hebrew home. It is the word a parent uses to describe the training of a child, and is used in Mishlei (Proverbs):
Mishlei 22:6Train [chanuk] up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it.
The word literally means to make a habit. To dedicate something scripturally is to place a consistent focus on something that stirs a never ending memory. When one discovers the actual events that resulted in the observance of Chanukah, it is easy to see why Yeshua‘ always observed it.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊