It is said that history repeats itself and that we should pay attention to it so that we can learn from it.
Chanukah is a time of celebration because of a miracle that was done by YHWH when He caused the oil that lit the Temple (that should of lasted only 1 day) to last 8 days! It is a time to remember the strength of YWHW's hand and rejoice for His goodness, a time to come together with the people you love and eat and play games and give thanks. But, Chanukah is also a lesson that we should take to heart, because history does repeat itself.
In one teaching done by Mark Biltz (I'm sure there are others out there that teach something like this), he describes the story of the Macabees and their lives with Antiochus as ruler. Biltz talks about what is actually happening during this time, the push for everyone to assimilate. Antiocus' goal was to cause everyone to worship the way he worshiped. He felt that all of the "customs" of the Jewish people must be done away with and so, he forbade them to practice their religion. They were no longer able to circumcise their sons, they could not keep Sabbath, their virgins were defiled prior to their weddings and so on. Anciochus did all he could do to take away from them what YHWH had instructed them to do.
Biltz goes on to explain that the push for assimilation was an effort to blot out the separateness of YHWH's people and cause them to "blend in" or mix with the rest causing them to become like the world, exactly what YHWH commanded them NOT to do IF they were His followers.
In his teachings, Biltz explains that Chanukah is a shadow or foretelling of future events. How that in the future this will play out again. A ruler will rise up and he will desire to cause the world to be "one" and he too will attempt to remove "customs" of YHWH's people, possibly forbidding them to dishonor Sabbath, etc.
A Few Chanukah Thoughts
Chanukah, following after Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur during which we took time to inspect our lives and hearts, is a time of rededicating our temple (ourselves) to YHWH. We have taken time to "cleanse or temples" and now can work toward dedicating our ways once again. Chanukah is the season of "the Miracle of Oil." One lesson in the miracle of oil is this: Oil cannot, does not, will never be able to mix with water. We are to be like that oil! We are called to be separate and NOT MIX with the world..."come out and be separate." The story of Chanukah is also a reminder that sometimes there is a cost to being separate and standing apart from the pressures of a pagan world, and it can be difficult at times. I think most of us have all experienced this in some way. YHWH knows what we face and He is not blind to it and with Him we are not defeated.
I really liked this as I read about it, the concept of "rededicating" our temples/homes. It is good as it causes us to consider things that may not be honorable in our lives that we can remove. Our ancestors lit a menorah and in its glow, they reclaimed their home. The ceremony was called Chanukat Habayit—literally, "rededicating the house." In our own time, at Chanukah, we think about our own homes as places where we encounter the sacred, and we deepen the way we experience home as a holy place. I like this idea.
Abba YHWH, may it be so, that we think about our home as a place that we encounter you, a place you dwell with us and help us to dedicate it to honoring you in all our home is used for. In feeding and serving, in resting and peace, in worship and petitioning, in meditation and prayer. Open our eyes YHWH so that we may understand how to create a place where you will dwell among us. Teach us your ways and help us to have a daily attitude of Chanukat Habayit.
Please hear our prayer, YHWH.