Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hanukkah and Christmas?

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. John 10:22,23

What does the feast of dedication have to do with Christmas? Could it be that we wouldn't have Christmas if there had not been a Hanukkah? 

I'm certainly not an authority on Hanukkah but I think I have a grasp on the gist of the story. Really everything in Jewish history has an affect on Christmas. If Adam and Eve had not sinned in the garden there would have been no need for Christmas or Calvary. It all started at the Beginning. God told Eve that it would be her seed that would bruise Satan's head and that Satan would bruise His heel. 

All through history, Satan has tried to destroy God's people so Christmas would never come. Think about Abraham and Isaac. Imagine an old man over 100 years old, tying up a teenager to offer the teen as a burnt sacrifice. Isaac could have easily broke away and run like crazy. But no, Isaac was obedient to his father, even as Jesus was obedient to His Father, even unto death. God spared Isaac's life because he couldn't die for our sins. But the Father did not spare His only Son. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. 

Think about Esther. God put her through tragic events to make her the queen who would save her people. If Haman had won, the Jews would have been destroyed. There would have been no special people to receive God's Son. There would be no Christmas.

Think about Hanukkah. The Greeks had come in to change the culture of the Hebrews to the Greek culture, language and religion. A pig was sacrificed on the temple alter. The brave family of the Maccabees fought for Israel and the temple. They cleansed the temple but there was only enough oil to light the lamp for one night. It would take a week to make more oil. They demonstrated their faith and love by reclaiming the temple and lighting the lamp. God demonstrated His love and power by keeping the lamp burning for eight days while the oil was being made. 
What would have happened if the Maccabees had not reclaimed the temple? The religion of the true God would have been destroyed and there would have been no Christmas.  

Think about King Herod's attempt to kill the baby Jesus by killing all the children under two years old. If Joseph had not listened to God and taken Jesus to Egypt, there would have been no Calvary, no sacrifice for our sins. 

Even to this day, Satan attempts to end Christianity. Satan knows his time is short. No matter what we see on the news, be reassured, God is not dead nor doth He sleep. He is in control. God wins.  

Blessing at Hanukkah and Christmas

Hey Kids:

As the holidays approach, why not take a few minutes each day to create an advent tree. 

Discover an Old Testament Bible story with Mom and Dad. 

Talk about how the story led to the events of the first advent of Christ, Christmas.

Draw a small picture on card stock and add the reference for the story. 

Each day add your picture card to a tree to remind you of the coming of Christmas.

On Christmas day be sure to read and celebrate the Christmas story, drawing and adding it as the last picture to the tree OR continue to add pictures like the wisemen and the flight to Egypt to finish the Christmas story. 

After Christmas save these pictures for next year's Advent Tree. 

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