In Part One of this series we explored the origins and history of Hanukkah and Christmas. Then, in Part Two, we began to dive into how Hanukkah and Christmas are similar. Now, in Part Three, we will continue to discover the similarities between Hanukkah and Christmas, and how you and I, as Believers, can benefit from BOTH.
There are many similarities between Hanukkah and Christmas; many reasons why it is important to keep the heart of these similarities in our own hearts—not only during the holiday season, but every day of the year.
Some of these similarities include:
- Valuing a servant’s heart
- Light (specifically FROM Heaven)
- Second Chances
- And many, many more
In Part Two we explored: The Servant Heart, Light, God, Miracles, and Second Chances. Now, in this final part, we explore: Restoration, Hope, Life, and how you and I can benefit from both Hanukkah and Christmas.
Hanukkah brought restoration to the Maccabees… not only by throwing off the “chains” of their oppressors, but by bringing them back into the habits and patterns of life where living and serving the God of their fathers were key… their hearts were restored. And the miracle of the holy oil lasting until they could craft new? Well, that surely restored hope within their hearts that, like the oil, may have been near the end.
Jesus brought restoration to ALL who have been, are, and will ever be willing to accept Him. He restored both Jew and Gentile to the Father and gave us His Holy Spirit—God’s own Spirit—to live within us, so that we can be restored daily to Him. God gave us Jesus, the Word of God… and His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, restores us to a pre-Garden fall relationship, if we are willing to accept Him.
God is the ultimate Restorer.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”—John 14:6
Hanukkah brought hope to the Maccabees, for, after years of fighting to reclaim their freedom and ability to serve God, they received victory—against extraordinary odds. Then, even when they did not have enough holy oil to continually keep the menorah lit as God had ordained, God stepped in again. His light bringing hope to the hearts of the Maccabees in those days, to the Jewish people in the darkness of the Holocaust, and even today, as the children of Israel once again have possession of their land.
Jesus, through His birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and His sitting at the right hand of the Father today, brings hope to the world. Yes, many have chosen not to accept it, and still others have not heard of that hope… but it is strong, unending, and pure. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Jesus is the hope our souls long for. Even the Gentiles, “…who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (see Ephesians 2:13) God has given true life and hope.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”—Romans 15:13
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”—Romans 5:5
Hanukkah is indeed a celebration of life. When the Maccabees of old faced living death—a life apart from the fullness of God—God stepped in and gave them another chance at the fullness of life… life with God. Life seen in the light that flickers and burns over eight nights during what is nearly the darkest time of the year. A reminder that God is with us, and that because He is with us… we have life. Life which is full, and cannot be taken away by any peoples, places, or things.
Jesus was, is, and will always be, our life—on earth and on through eternity. In John 10:10 Jesus said it plainly, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Through Jesus we have life. Through His Blood, His gift of the Holy Spirit, the relationship He allows us with His Father, we have LIFE. Life so strong and pure that nothing else will do, but Him. Our life.
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”—John 1:4
How You and I Can Benefit:
While these are not ALL the similarities which Hanukkah and Christmas possess, they ARE beautiful benefits which you and I can tap into. And it begs the question, “Why would anyone knowing God and His Word not desire them?”
- A Servant’s Heart
- Light (specifically FROM Heaven)
- Second Chances
- And an untold number of other beautiful, God-filled benefits.
Even those who have never heard of our God—Father, Yeshua, and Holy Spirit—would gladly welcome many of these. After all, who would not desire miracles, second chances, restoration, hope, and life? They are all a perfectly woven fabric of God and His blessings, and they are found as we observe Hanukkah and Christmas.
Yes, there are things in Christmas—and likely even Hanukkah—which have origins or traditions in things not wholly in line with God, yet, God knows the intents of our hearts. If we are seeking Him and using Godly wisdom, then what remains is God.
When we light the hanukkiah and remember the miracles God did in days of old, thanking Him, praising Him, and remembering HIS Light… we are brought into closer relationship with God.
When we sing about the birth of Jesus at Christmas or remember God’s goodness through the gift of His Son, the Light of the world… we are brought into closer relationship with God.
With this shift of focus away from ourselves and toward God… to helping and loving others, we become more like our Father. The light of Heaven begins to rest in us, our hearts become open to miracles, we remember to whom we owe our second chances, our restoration… we remember who gives us life and hope.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. …”—James 4:8
So, in this season, no matter which holiday we celebrate, let us remember our God. Let us walk in love, giving of ourselves out of a servant’s heart, remembering who it is who causes us to be kings and priests.
Let us give out of the abundance of blessings that God has bestowed on us, for by the Blood of Jesus we have received the greatest blessing of all. We received a chance to know GOD.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”—Jeremiah 29:11-14