This past Wednesday I did a teaching on Hanukkah in The Deep. It was an interesting time because many of my kids had either very little knowledge of this holiday or had never even heard of it. Our normal set up is welcome, game, worship, lesson, prayer, games. But this time I switched things up!
I started off with teaching our kids the story behind Hanukkah. I used the kids to act out the story! Essentially the story goes as follows:
In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of retaliation. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the practice of Judaism an offense punishable by death! He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.
When the Jews refused Greek soldiers came into the villages and forced them to bow down to idols and to break other Jewish laws. This infuriated a group of Jews known as the Maccabees! They raised a small army and fought off the Greeks reclaiming the temple in Jerusalem!
The priest then went into the temple and began to clear out all the idols and tools used to worship the false Gods in order to restore and purify the temple. When they came to lighting the lamp stand in the temple they discovered that there was only enough oil to keep it lit for 1 day!
The problem was that God commands that this particular lamp be lit at all times, its flames should never go out. The Jews only had enough for one day and it took 8 days to make new oil! Believing in God’s miraculous ways they went ahead and lit the lamp stand. Sure enough that lamp stand kept lit for all 8 days!
I explained to the kids that Hanukkah is a time of celebrating two specific things. One is the rededication of the Temple. The second is God’s provision for those 8 days. I then went on to explain to the kids that God loves them so very much and that He gives us the strength to do the right thing. The Jews knew that they needed to light the lamp stand but didn’t have what they needed. So God provided for them!
God will not let us rest in a place where we will be tempted to slack off for long. If you want to honor Him and serve Him in Spirit and in truth He will help you and provide a way for you. I then pointed the kids to 1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
After this I lit the menorah and one of my leaders came up to lead the kids in worship. I chose 3 specific songs for a specific reason.
1: Every Move I make: I chose this song because when the Jews retook the temple and went to light the lamp; all those things were done with God’s guidance. In the same way everything we do should be done with God’s guidance.
2: Mighty Warrior (by Rick Pino): I did this song mostly because of the chorus. “I can do all things, through Christ who gives strength” The Jews were only able light the lamp and keep it lit because of God, because He gave them the ability to do this. We must realize that God has given us strength to do all things. If He has called you to do something He will provide.
3: Revelation Song (by Kari Jobe [incidentally she’s the original writer and singer…]) I chose this song because it when the Jews came through this season they had a revelation of how good our God is. When God calls us to do things we must move with His guidance, move with His provision, and when we come through it all we will have a revelation of how great our God is!
And that’s it folks. This was our Hanukkah lesson.