Hanukkah: it’s not about the pretty candles.
Hanukkah starts this evening, and we’ll be lighting pretty candles and thanking God for his great miracles. But this year I decided to do something I’d never done before, and I’ve started reading through the book of Maccabees, refreshing my mind about stuff we’d been told at school, stuff which can easily get forgotten in the sentimentality of pretty candles, in the sweet, child-centred attitude to a holiday which celebrates something that happened at the end of a very gory war.
People died. People killed people. It wasn’t pretty.
Hanukkah is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights, but it is also sometimes called the Feast of Dedication, and this name gives a better clue as to what it’s celebrating – the rededication of the Temple after the Greeks had desecrated it, bringing idols into the place which was supposed to be holy to God. The Greeks had tried…
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