Posted on Dec 12, 2017 | 2 comments

It’s true – Hanukkah or Chanukah or however you want to spell it, is simply, in the Hebrew mindset, a FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS! It is not a commandment or appointed gathering, but it is a celebration of freedom over tyranny and oppression. And, it surely is a great excuse to get the family and friends together, eat fried food (love those latkes!), play dreidel and enjoy holiday traditions. Time for you to tell the story of how a few rag-tag believers had victory over the strongest of enemies – and make it personal!

When researching the traditions of Hanukkah, many have been around for centuries, bu that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own! Of course, the story of the victory of Hanukkah is always retold and it is quite fun to have the young ones put on a skit about the ancient battle. Weaving the Messiah and how to shine your own light into the story of the Maccabees brings it up close and personal. Lighting the candles and saying prayers begin the festivities and then the fun begins! Dreidels (square tops) are spun and then fun trumps the night.

Today, Hanukkah seems to rival Christmas, and many believers in the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) have fallen prey to that trap as well. Many feel ‘guilty’ not celebrating Christmas with their children when they themselves hold such warm memories of that season themselves. And so they go overboard trying to compensate for what they feel is a ‘loss’ for their child. And then of course, who doesn’t have the family and friends in their life that insists that you are ‘under the law’ and you are not celebrating the birthday of Jesus. It could, most assuredly, be labeled the most traumatic time period in the year for any new ‘Hebrew’ (one who has crossed over).

However, take heart dear one! This is a great time to renew friendships, bring your family together and share the Light of the Messiah with so many within the context of a biblical and historical event!  Below are some great ideas that may help you over that first year hump of switching to days approved by the Holy One … and man’s traditions…so let’s look at a few.

First, and foremost, we recommend that if you are one of those that write that typical Christmas or End of Year update letter to your friends, this is a great time to let everyone know your findings in scripture! Explain in love that after much prayer and research, your family is now being led to study out the ancient ways. Don’t come off as ‘more righteous’ then thou or that you are being ‘more obedient’ or that Father ‘loves you best’. Simply share that you would like your family to experience what the Savior and his disciples and all those in the first and second century celebrated. Read, reread and then wait a day and read that letter out loud again. This is a very good time to measure your words, check your heart and allow the love-words of the Messiah to come forth. It isn’t about ‘being right’ it’s about His love. Let your ‘light shine’ in your actions more than your words.

Now, for some family fun! And this would be a GREAT TIME to invite those that do not understand why the switch – to join in with you. What could be more fun than friends and family getting together for an evening of fun, fellowship and food? And what a great opportunity it will be to share the why’s and wherefores 🙂

Gifts are great, right? But just as many Christians worry about the consumerism of Christmas, many Jewish families want to prevent the meaning of Hanukkah from drowning in a sea of presents.

For those looking to give Hanukkah gifts in a more meaningful way, here’s a suggestion for a memory-rich, family-centered approach, combining the fun of presents with the warmth of togetherness.

Here are 8 sample nights of naches (Yiddish) for “DELIGHT”

Night 1: Family Activity Night. Simply said, this is for YOUR family – make it a movie night or a camp out int he living room with popcorn or tickets to a new movie, or maybe a brand-new board game? Welcome in the first night of Hanukkah with family fun for the closest people in your life.

Night 2: Games and Puzzles. How about a fun-filled game or puzzle night? Bring in your favorite games and make it a marathon! A perfect evening for those tasty Latkes!!! (I make mine out of spaghetti squash mmmmmm!)

Night 3: Handmade Gift Night. This is when you can get really creative! All kinds of ‘gifts’ are welcome – freshly baked cookies and breads, knitted scarves – how about a handmade gift card or a massage or anything that would be from the heart (rather than the checkbook!)

Night 4: Party Time. Maybe on this evening you’d like to invite friends and family over for just schmoozing and enjoying each others company? A great evening for having everyone bring a nosh!

Night 5: Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for “repairing the world”). A great evening to teach giving back to someone else. Know of someone in the nursing home, or an elderly neighbor that could use some help? What about helping at the local food bank or soup kitchen? Know a homeless shelter that might need some help with coats or warm clothes? Do something good for someone else and help ‘repair the world’.

Night 6: Book Night. Light that 6th candle and share about the story of Messiah….most probably conceived during this season – after all He is the Light of the World! Talk about all the scriptures that talk about ‘light’ and let the stories begin!

Night 7: Music Night. How about a music night? Have a few in your family that love to play an instrument or sing or even just bang on the pots? Have your friends and extended family come over for an evening of worship, fellowship, and a fun time of karaoke. Lots of belly laughter sure to follow!

Night 8: Surprise Night. And the last night – make it special. Make up clues, or treasure maps for hidden gifts – any kind of gift – because the fun is in the finding! At the end of the treasure hunt, join hands, pray over each one there – allow each one to offer a praise of thanks to the Holy One who has given us this special time of fun and laughter and remembrance over having the victory over our struggles!

The suggestions above are just that – suggestions. Maybe you have some other great ideas, and I’m sure you do! Make your ‘traditions’ meaningful, fun and full of warm fuzzies. However you celebrate this holiday, make it yours with new traditions, and honor a few old ones. This is the season of LIGHT!
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2 Comments

  1. 12-28-2017

    I enjoy your ministry! You are teaching me a lot Thangs very much! dan

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