Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Culture 101 (part 12) - Thanksgivukkah (Thanksgiving and Hanukkah)

everystockphoto/Channukah 5767 

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

We have an unusual confluence of events.  Two beloved holidays - Thanksgiving and Hanukkah - fall on the same day in 2013.  [referenece:  ‘Thanksgivukkah’ when Chanukah and Thanksgiving share the same day]  The previous referenced article explains this occurrence will be the first and last time this confluence of holidays will happen.

So seize the day!!!


First day of Hanukkah for 2013 is on November 28 - though officially it starts on the evening of November 27. [reference:  When is Chanukah in 2013? -]

The story behind this Jewish holiday is intriguing as it happened during the inter-testament period (between the writing of the Old and New Testament)  around 170 B.C.  Antiochus IV Epiphanes had oppressed the Jews in Jerusalem and desecrated the temple.  But under the leadership of the Maccabees, the Jews revolted and drove out their oppressors.   The temple had only enough sacred oil for one day, but it miraculously burned for eights days - giving time to prepare new oil for the menorah in the holy place.

The Festival of Dedication story can be found here:  Judaism 101: Chanukkah.  And below is a video clip of one of the traditional songs to enjoy:

The story is told here in First  Maccabees of the Apocrypha, specifically 1 Maccabees 4:36-58.

And Jesus celebrated Hanukkah as noted in the Gospel of John:

Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem.
It was winter,
 and Jesus was in the temple courts
walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.

John 10:22,23 (NIV)

Like the re-dedication of the temple during the time of the Maccabees, Jesus cleansed the temple at the start of his public ministry (John 2:13-17) and at the end of his public ministry (Matthew 21:12-13). Undoubtedly, the Festival of Dedication had a great meaning to him.

Which takes us to another tradition with a religious flavor.


Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday. This year it falls on November 28th - on the first day of Hanukkah.  [reference: Thanksgiving Day in United States]

Wikipedia/First Thanksgiving
For a good resource to explore the history of Thanksgiving, check out:  Thanksgiving — Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts

Giving thanks - thanksgiving - has religious roots in both the Old and New Testaments - as shown below in this clip:

Psalm 107 , for example, is filled with verses of giving thanks to the Lord for delivering his people from times of trouble and distress.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind

Psalm 107:1, 8 (NIV)

As we think of Thanksgiving as a day of feasting ....

Look at giving thanks to this miraculous feast 2000 years ago ...

It is not a coincidence that the one miracle of Jesus told in all four gospels is the feeding of the 5000 (more like 15,000 if women and children are factored in).  Receiving the boy's gift of five loaves and two fishes, the Lord Jesus gave thanks and a great miracle happened as the loaves and fishes multiplied to feed the gathering with food leftover as everyone had their fill.

everstockphoto/Loaves and Fishes
Note the common theme ...

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
Matthew 14:19 (NIV) 

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.
Mark 6:41 (NIV) 

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.
Luke 9:16 (NIV) 

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
John 6:11 (NIV )

Whether keeping the oil burning for the re-dedication of the temple or the multiplying of the loaves and the fishes to feed a hungry crowd, each was a cause for giving thanks.

And 2013 is a year when these two holidays -  Hanukkah and Thanksgiving - converge.

May those of us of faith resolve ...

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17 (NIV)



Previous posts in the Culture 101 series:

Culture 101 (part 1) - Reagan's Challenge (2012)

Culture 101 (part 2) - Easter Eucatastrophe (2012)

Culture 101 (part 3) - Paul Revere's Ride (2012)

Culture 101 (part 4) - Gold Diggers and the Great Depression (2012)

Culture 101 (part 5) - Blue Bloods and 9/11 (2012)

Culture 101 (part 6) - Gilligan's Island and Breast Cancer Awareness (2012)

Culture 101 (part 7) - Band of Brothers  (2013)

Culture 101 (part 8) - Snow White (2013)

Culture 101 (part 9) - Father Knows Best (2013)

Culture 101 (part 10) - Summertime! x 3 (2013)

Culture 101 (part 11) - Native American Osmosis (2013)


Photos from:
*   everystockphoto/Channukah 5767 
 *   Wikipedia/First Thanksgiving
 *  everstockphoto/Loaves and Fishes

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