For several years I have celebrated Chanukah with my children. I pray they celebrate Chanukah, as well as all of Yahweh's feasts, with their children. At first, our celebration was like an extension of Christmas. Either I tell a quick retelling of the battle to win back the temple or we watch a video, etc, and then we would open a present each night after lighting the next candle and saying the prayers. As my children matured, I expected them to remember why we celebrate. I would quiz them and make them think beyond the gift giving to the real miracle.
The Story of Chanukah (abridged version)
About 160 years or so before Yeshua (Jesus) was born, a huge part of the known world, including Israel, was ruled by an evil and worldly King Antiochus III of Syria, who claimed to be a god and wanted to be worshiped and called "Epiphanes" which means "the visible god". He did many bad things and wanted everyone to live by his rules. He outlawed the Torah, made the Jews stop worshiping on the Sabbath, would not allow them to circumcise their children, and even made them eat pork, and would put them to torture and death when they disobeyed. What is worse, more and more Jews fell away from God's ways and took on the ways of the world.
One day, Antiochus Epiphanies set up an altar to Zeus over the altar of burnt offerings in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. He found a Jewish priest to sacrifice a pig on the altar in the Temple in Jerusalem. But a brave, steadfast believer of Yahweh named Mattathaias was so furious that he grabbed an officer's sword and killed the corrupt priest and tore down the altar, and cried out, “Let everyone who is zealous for Torah and supports the covenant, come with me!”
They fought the pagan armies for three years until they won back the temple. The priests cleaned and built new furniture and hung new curtains, sanctifying the temple once again to light the menorah. The menorah was designed by Yahweh to be ever lit as a symbol of His presence but after taking back the temple, there was only one day's worth of holy oil available to burn.
Most say that the miracle of Chanukah is that the oil burned for eight days, long enough to sanctify more oil. So, traditional celebrations include lots of fried foods. It is certainly a yummy celebration. But the more I read God's word, the closer my relationship grows in Him, the more my faith matures. I have realized, and I hope many come to know that the miracle is not that the oil lasted eight days. Yes, that is amazing but what's more amazing is that God's people who fell away from His ways repented, changed their minds, and turned back to living His way. I pray that you too will cleanse your temple from the world's ways and repent and turn back to living Yahweh's way.