A Time for Dedication
As we celebrate the Festival of Lights, many people have asked me recently: “Why do you celebrate Hanukkah with gold coins and fried foods?” or “I don’t see Hanukkah in the Bible anywhere, so why do you celebrate it?”
To which I respond by saying that those are very good questions! A quick Google search will tell you that Hanukkah is a memorial holiday celebrating the miracle of the holy menorah staying lit for eight days when there was only enough oil for one day! This was in the midst of overthrowing an occupying force of Syrian-Greeks who had desecrated the Temple in horrific ways and subjected the Jewish people to terrible oppression - outlawing the worship of ADONAI, forbidding them from reading the Torah, keeping them from establishing their own economy, and massacring thousands of people who lived in Jerusalem.
When the Maccabees retook the Temple and cleared it out, they rededicated the Holy of Holies to ADONAI. Which is why this celebration is also called the Feast of Dedication! And since Yeshua himself celebrated Hanukkah, we like to do it as well. So, we light candles, eat fried foods, and give presents to one another while we praise God for His faithfulness!
But one little detail that sometimes gets glossed over is the significance of why we give one another gold chocolate coins. When an occupying force takes over a nation, one of the first things that happens is the shift of currency into whatever the occupiers accept. In this case, the inhabitants of Jerusalem had to use coinage issued by King Antiochus with his stamp instead of one of their own. But when the Syrian-Greeks were pushed out of Jerusalem, the minting of Judean currency began once again as a symbol of a free people. As we hand out these little gold chocolate coins, we remember that God has been faithful time and time again to free us from captivity and occupation!
This year, however, I held one of these treats in my hands, I began to wonder.
As a people, freed from sin and death, what do we use as currency in the Kingdom of Heaven?
While sin denies us freedom from eternal life, the victory of Yeshua over death means that we are in fact a free people! We've been released from the bonds of sin and iniquity! Yeshua says in John 13 that people will know us as His disciples by our love for one another. So, it stands to reason that the currency of our heavenly Kingdom is actually love. Love for our Savior, love for our neighbors, love for creation, love for our families, love for the world. All of it is currency that we can strike, mint, and spend freely!
So, this holiday season, remember to spend and share the currency of our King: His Love. And maybe throw a little chocolate in there too! Happy Holidays!
Thank you for reminding me of Hanukkah. I am not a Jew, but I love Yeshua, Jesus, the Jewish Messiah very much, as I also love the Jewish People and pray for them and the nation of Israel frequently. In Yeshua. Phil
Phil Stone on
Thank you for this, I knew about the oil, but not the coin.
Carolina E Haynes-Reynolds on
Thank you for sharing this information.
I really enjoyed reading it!
Jennifer Beard on
I am so blessed wt this truth. Since I am a gentile, I sometimes feel doing wrong things like celebrating Chanukah or Hanukkah. I am so interested to do Jewish tradition that Yeshua also did. I want to always hear the truth from you guys in this TLV. Please guide. Thank you. Happy Hanukkah (is it correct greeting for celebrating this festival?)…
Farida Krisman on
Well said! Thank-you!
Stuart Uggen on
Beautiful. Thank you for your insight.
Thank you so much for this insight. And it does give us encouragement to love more generously than ever!
Happy Hanukkah to you all!! The light of the oil still burns today!!
Michael L Villwock on
Praise to our eternal light !!
Shelia Cisco on