Lighting the Menorah

The traditional celebration of Hanukkah includes lighting a candle each of the eight nights of the holiday. A special 9 branch candelabra (called a Hanukkiah) is used.


Most people explain the eight candles to celebrate a miracle that didn’t happen.  The legend is that when the Macabees came to cleanse the Temple, there was only enough oil to light the Temple Menorah for one day.  BUT, miraculously the oil lasted for eight days.  Hence the eight days of Hanukkah.

But the real miracle is the victory that God gave the small Jewish army over the powerful Greek army.

Of course, the miraculous victory and the dedication of the cleansed Temple had to be celebrated.  The Jews hoped the temple would be ready to be dedicated on the same holiday that the first and second Temples were dedicated – the Feast of Tabernacles, or in Hebrew Succot.  But the Temple wasn’t ready.  So they created another holiday of dedication but patterned it after Succot.

The new holiday was named, “Succot of Cislev” the winter month correlating to December on the Gregorian calendar.

According to Leviticus 23, Succot was to be celebrated for 8 days…hence the eight days of Hanukkah.


Why the candles?  By the time of Zechariah the Feast of Tabernacles was associated with the coming of the Messianic Kingdom where there would be everlasting light (Zech.14:6-7) so giant candelabras were lit around Jerusalem.  Hence the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah!

The ninth candle is called Shamos or Servant. This candle is lit first and then lights all the others. Here are two very practicial ways to celebrate Jesus through the holiday of Hanukkah.

So is there an application of the Hanukkah menorah to the One New Man?


When we are lit by the flame of God’s love, the light of Jesus ignites the other fruits of the Holy Spirit as we become the fully lit candelabra of God, shedding His light and love into the dark world:

  • Love releases joy;
  • Joy releases peace;
  • Peace releases longsuffering;
  • Longsuffering releases kindness;
  • Kindness releases goodness;
  • Goodness releases faithfulness;
  • Faithfulness releases gentleness;
  • Gentleness releases self–control.


Hanukkah is an excellent time to remember that YOU are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Your body is His dwelling place. Hanukkah gives us a unique opportunity to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice” and “to lay aside every sin and weight.”

  • Mouth: Romans 10:10; Isaiah 49:2
  • Lips: Psalm 34:13
  • Tongue: Proverbs 27:2; Psalm 145:21
  • Heart: Deuteronomy 6:5
  • Mind: Isaiah 26:3
  • Feet: Romans 10:15
  • Ears: Proverbs 23:12; Psalm 40:6
  • Eyes: Ephesians 1:18; Psalm 119:37

For more information see Joanie’s books:

Celebrate Jesus! The Christian Perspective of the Biblical  Feasts

Celebrate God’s Love: Christmas/Hanukkah: Fact & Fiction

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