In the month of December, in countries with considerable Christian and Jewish populations, two holidays can be clearly noticed. Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, and Hanukkah, celebrating the miracle that took place circa 160 B.C.E. in Jerusalem’s Temple at the time of the Maccabean Revolt.

Christmas as a holiday does not appear in the New Testament because the holiday itself was introduced some time after the events which it commemorates. Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible because the events that took place too happened after the Hebrew Bible was completed. Ironically, while Hanukkah, also known as Feast of Dedication or Festival of Lights, is not found in the Hebrew Bible, it is found in New Testament. In John 10:22 we are told that Jesus went up to Jerusalem and “at that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem.”

For much of later Jewish history Hanukkah was a marginal holiday and was not extensively celebrated. The reason for this was that the miraculous event it celebrated was overshadowed by the tragedy of the subsequent and utter destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple almost 2000 years ago.

So, how did it happen that Hanukkah has made such a successful come back? One of the answers has to do with the commercialization of Christmas. As Christmas became dominant in its communal display, the Jewish community had to come up with its own alternative to avoid assimilation (to which the magic and beauty of Christmas no doubt contributed). Now, for better or worse, the white and blue colors of Hanukkah compete with, and add to, the traditionally red and green colors of the Western Christmas tradition. Jewish and Christian histories are connected even when they are trying not to be.

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121 COMMENTS

  1. Shalom, friends. I very much welcome your comments, however, those of you are are of the opinion that Christmas is a Pagan holiday (I've met many people like that before) I would encourage you to keep your comments until my forthcoming article about this topic (meanwhile perhaps you can read my other post "Is Easter a Pagan Holiday?" (https://israelbiblecenter.com/easter-pagan-holiday/)?
    • Christ is a redeemer and though so many have condemned Christmas as a pagan holiday, the Cross (made from a tree) I celebrate with the "Christmas tree' at Christmas time, as Christ is the Gift of Christmas. Would you (generic - for unbeliever) not, therefore, open up that Gift that is under this tree to embrace His Gift to you, if you will only open that Gift for yourself.

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    • If Christmas had not supplanted Chanukah in the hearts of believers in the first place, Chanukah would not have needed to be saved, it would be SOP for all Christians and Jews.

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    • Dear sir we know that satan is a counterfitter is it possible Jesus was conceived on Christmas Day which would bring his birth up to tabernacles God With us

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    • Good teaching on Christmas by Dr Berry

      https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-life-church-kc/id924638000?mt=2&i=1000425724868

      Or, in a web based site:

      http://tlckcmo.com/media/165860-2105390-1587103/ptm-18-make-it-happen-lee-stoneking
  2. How exciting to know that the Lord sees to it that the Jewish / Christian connection remains before our eyes. The two are a testimony of God's grace to mankind. He will fulfill His purposes. Shalom, Michael
  3. Shalom friends , I stopped doing Christmas when I read Jeremiah 10 v 3 , also I learnt it's nimrods birthday December 25th . Yeshua is not born in December as you know , Nimrod is in the face off YAH I believe he is in the spirit off the Antichrist . And when we bow down to pick uo our gifts who are we bowing too? I loved Christmas but now I know it's a pagan feast and it's ugly - read what the Romans did on 25 December it is very tearful the history off Christmas is evil.
    • December 25 was clearly a VERY PAGAN DATE. I don't think we are doubting that. But as I said in my very first comment, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, hold off your comments about PAGAGANISM and CHRISTMAS until my forthcoming post that deals exactly with that topic.
    • I stopped Christmas because of those verses in Jer. Then I went back to them and wondered is it really talking about christmas...but maybe an idol. Who puts silver and gold on their tree. It says a craftsman cuts the tree, Im no craftsman??????/then see vs.10:9.

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  4. I heartily agree with Michael Coleman. I only wish that us Christians would have always celebrated Christ's birth at the more appropriate time of His coming; that is, in early spring. After all, that would be more in keeping with the Scripture account. Shalom, Joe
    • Yes, December 25th is clearly problematic, but I agree that if what we are discussing here is the birth of Jewish Christ, than what is wrong with commemorating his birthday? (even though I agree there is no biblical mandate to do so). Puritans for example did not celebrate Christmas to the best of my knowledge or at least many did not. They sought to stick with the Bible only. Just a point of interest.

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  5. In my opinion Christmas is the commemoration of Jesus birth and period. If is the right date I doubt. But is the feast more commemorate in all the world.So we have to rejoice Our Savior God. He is the Ligth of the world . The Ligth of Hanukkah about to Shine again in Jerusalem in the New Temple.
  6. Great blog post, Dr. Eli. I agree with Joe that it would be good to celebrate the birth of Christ on a date more closely related to his actual birth. However, living in the Northeastern United States, I'm very thankful that during one of the darkest, coldest, and bleakest periods of the year we've set aside a day to celebrate the coming of our Savior. It always gives me something to look forward to as winter takes a firm hold on our region. I only wish we had a similar festival to look forward to in February!
  7. Shalom , Sorry sorry sorry , I hope your forthcoming post is before the 25 off December so we can as believers look up truth on study this subject , before this pagan fest comes We did a study last night all about Yeshua going up to celebrate Hanukkah , and Him saying I AM The light off the world . It's great to remember the history behind Hanukkah and celebrate . Bless Isreal . Shabbat shalom Yvonne
  8. Shalom , Sorry sorry sorry , I hope your forthcoming post is before the 25 off December so we can as believers look up the truth on chiritmas and study the history ourselves before this pagan fest comes . We meet on Shabbat every Friday in Liverpool to study Torah , last night was all about Yeshua going up to celebrate Hanukkah . He said saying I AM The light off the world . It's great to remember the history behind Hanukkah and celebrate . Bless Israel forever . Shabbat shalom Yvonne
  9. christmas along with easter are the most important celebrations in the christian calendar they celebrate God jesus and holy spirit the one true God in the form of the trinity, to a lot of us the celebration at /before christmas of channuka is as important as passover is to easter we should honour both the christian and jewish faiths as one leads to the other ginette kelley
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  10. Thanks reminding John 10:22. Merry Christmas. Without 164 BC the liberation of [email protected] there would be no Christmas- the other name for Ressurection as a new birth (of Jesus) to eternal life - Acts 13:[email protected]:7(today I have begotten/"gegennneka"(Greek) you). Acts was written in 50's A.D. as St.Paul's letters long before Gospels of Luke and Matthew (with Jesus's Birth Stories).
    • "Christians" do not know that when they are celebrating the birth of the Messiah in december it was actually His conception. Do not most believer believe that life starts at conceptions? It not conception when the WORD took on flesh? John said so plain that the WORD became flesh and TABERNACLED among us! If you go from Dec 9 months you will come to the Feast of Tabernacles..What we know as His birth into this world. So the celebration of Christ Mass may have not been meant for good and to hid the birth of the Messiah. It backfired devil?

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