Of course, it is always a great idea for ministries to host special conferences or services to remember this tremendous time of the year. After all, Jesus celebrated it!
A common celebration in the home is the lighting of a hanukkiah. A hanukkiah is a nine-branch menorah. The menorah in the temple was a seven branch. The Jewish people use this special nine branch to remember the oil that lasted eight days. The middle branch in the nine-branch menorah is called the Shamash branch. It is the servant branch. This candle is used to light all the other candles during the eight days of Hanukkah.
During Hanukkah, some families get together and light the menorah each night. The first night, they light the Shamash branch and then 1 branch. The second night, they light the Shamash branch and 2 branches, and so forth. On the last night they light the Shamash and all 8 of the other branches. While the hanukkiah is lit, some families pray special blessings over each other. The nine branch menorah represents the nine Fruits of the Spirit and the nine Gifts of the Spirit! Amazing!
As you light the menorah each night, here are two blessings you can speak. I have them listed in both Hebrew and English.
- Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai Eh-lo-hei-noo Meh-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-deh-sha-noo Beh-mitz-vo-tav Veh-tzi-va-noo Leh-had-lik Ner Cha-noo-kah.
- Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
- Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai Eh-lo-hei-nu Meh-lech Ha-olam Sheh-a-sa Nee-sim La-avo-tei-noo Ba-ya-mim Ha-hem Bee-z’man Ha-zeh.
- Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
Since eating is always involved with celebration, there are special foods you can make. Most of these foods are oily to remind us of the miracle of God’s oil. Some people make latkes, which are potato pancakes. Others eat donuts or even fried chicken! Any type of oily food will suffice (assuming its clean of course!) Oil represents the Holy Spirit, so each up as much as you want!
When your Hanukkiah is lit, you can always read special Hanukkah-themed stories to your children. You can pray the Sabbath blessings over each other as well. There is a fun game called dreidel. A dreidel is a small top-like toy used to spin. It has four sides on it. Dreidels have four Hebrew letters on them, and they stand for the saying, nes, gadol, haya, sham, meaning “A great miracle occurred there”. You can go to nearly any website about Hanukkah and find the exact rules for playing this game.
As far as personal readings are concerned, you can read the Books of Maccabees. They are not inspired by God, but they are historical books written to describe the events that occurred at that time. Daniel 8 and 11 describe the fulfillment of the prophetic events found in Hanukkah.
Kelly Vonner, an ordained prophet at Hungry Hearts, celebrates Hanukkah with her family. She has some great ideas that you might be able to draw from. Hanukkah is their family’s “Art of Bravery” season. Here are some great ideas that she shared:
“During this season, we take the time to embrace the light, imitate the bravery, and praise God for the miracles that happened during Hanukkah.
While the majority of the world is placing reefs and Christmas trees up in their homes, our family will be creating and decorating our home with “Happy Hanukkah” signs and menorahs. Last year, we created a 3D snowflake and overlaid it with a menorah. The year before, we constructed menorahs from our children’s hand silhouettes. We’ve also created menorahs from Popsicle sticks and Styrofoam balls. In addition, we use the Light My Fire Hanukkah App to digitally light menorahs and share on social media.
Our “Happy Hanukkah” signs are covered in Bible verses that reference light. As we progress through each night of Hanukkah, we try to add more verses about light, strength, and bravery. We embrace Jesus as the Light of the World, the Light in our home, and the Light of our life.
We have several children’s books in our library as well: “Like a Maccabee” by Raymond Zwerin & Audrey Marcus, “The Maccabee on the Mantle” by Abra Garrett, “Elmo’s Little Dreidel” by Sesame Street, “Biscuit’s Hanukkah” by Alyssa Capucilli and Latke, “The Lucky Dog” by Ellen Fischer. Our sons use this season to imitate the bravery of the Maccabees by sharing their Hanukkah books with their teachers and classmates. One year my nephew took dreidels to school and taught his classmates how to play. I generally set a menorah on my desk; students immediately ask questions and want to know more about what I believe. During Hanukkah, when most people are focused on Christmas, our family stands up to be soldiers for Jesus.”
The Lord has given me some special readings for the Hanukkah season that I would like to share. These would be great to read aloud after your Hanukkiah is lit. There are three special themes as it relates to Hanukkah: 1) Light, 2) Miracles of God, and 3) Bravery in battle. The Lord showed me that the purpose of Hanukkah is to build your faith just before the winter spiritual warfare begins.
Day 1 – John 10:22-39, Luke 6:6-10, John 4:43-54, Matthew 8:5-13, Exodus 14:1-31
Day 2 – Genesis 1:1-3, Luke 7:11-17, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:26-39, Luke 22:50-52, Joshua 6:1-21
Day 3 – John 8:12, John 5:1-9, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:49-56, Judges 7-8:12
Day 4 – I John 1:5-7, Matthew 9:27-31, Matthew 9:32-34, John 6:1-14, Judges 15:9-14
Day 5 – 1 Peter 2:9, John 6:16-21, Matthew 14:34-36, Matthew 15:21-28, Matthew 20:29-34, 1 Chron. 11:10-25
Day 6 – Mark 10:27, Mark 7:31-37, Matthew 15:32-39, Mark 8:22-25, John 11:1-44, 2 Kings 6:8-23
Day 7 – Zechariah 4:6, John 9:1-7, Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 13:11-17, Zechariah 9:13, 2Chron 14 (KJV or NKJV)
Day 8 – Lev 24:1-4, Luke 14:1-6, Luke 17:11-19, Mark 10:46-52, 2 Kings 18-19:1-19, 35-36, Hebrews 11