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The Festival of Dedication: Discovering the Historical Context of Hanukkah

Possible Viewpont: Evangelical Christian

Title: The Festival of Dedication: Discovering the Historical Context of Hanukkah

Welcome, young friends, to today’s lesson! Today, we will be learning about a special holiday called Hanukkah. Hanukkah is celebrated by our Jewish friends, and it reminds them of an important event in their history. Let’s dive in and discover the historical context of Hanukkah together!

Opening Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for gathering us here today to learn about Hanukkah. Help us to understand and appreciate our Jewish friends’ celebrations and their special connection to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.

1. The Story of Hanukkah:
Many years ago, a powerful king ruled over the land of Israel. His name was Antiochus, and he was not kind to the Jewish people. Antiochus wanted everyone to worship his gods, even though the Jewish people believed in only one God, the true God.

One day, Antiochus decided to capture the Jewish Temple and make it a place to worship his gods. However, a group of brave Jewish fighters, known as the Maccabees, stood up against Antiochus. Against all odds, they fought and regained control of the Temple.

When the Maccabees entered the Temple, they found everything destroyed and in ruins. They cleaned the Temple and built a new altar to worship God again. They wanted to show their dedication to God, so they decided to light the menorah, a special candle holder, even though they only had enough oil for one day.

2. The Miraculous Oil:
As the Maccabees prepared to light the menorah, a miracle happened! The small amount of oil they had miraculously burned for eight days, giving them enough time to make more oil! This was a great sign from God that He was with them and helping them.

To remember this miracle, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah for eight days, lighting one candle on their menorah each evening.

3. The Symbolism of Hanukkah:
Hanukkah reminds us that even when things seem impossible, God can make a way. God helped the Maccabees to fight against their enemies and rebuild the Temple. The miracle of the oil shows us that God’s power is limitless, and He can provide for us in unexpected ways.

4. Celebrating Hanukkah:
During Hanukkah, Jewish families light a special candle holder called a menorah. On the first night, they light one candle, and each night they add another until all eight candles are lit. They also sing songs, play games, exchange gifts, and enjoy special foods like potato latkes (pancakes) and jelly donuts.

Isn’t Hanukkah an exciting holiday? We can learn so much from the bravery of the Maccabees and the faithfulness of God. As Christians, we can join our Jewish friends and celebrate the Festival of Dedication, remembering that God is always with us, even in the darkest times.

Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching us about Hanukkah and the courage of the Maccabees. Help us to remember that you are a God who works miracles and is always with us. May your blessings and peace be upon our Jewish friends during this special time. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.

Remember, young friends, let us share love, respect, and celebrate the unique traditions of others. God bless you all!

Worship Music for Lesson

1. “Shine Bright” – This upbeat and lively song teaches children about the importance of being a light in the world, just as the Hanukkah candles symbolize God’s presence and miracles.

2. “The Miracle of Hanukkah” – This catchy song tells the story of the Maccabees and how they triumphed against all odds, emphasizing the underlying message of God’s faithfulness and delivering miracles in times of need.

3. “God’s Amazing Plan” – This song highlights God’s sovereignty and His perfect timing, drawing parallels to the historical context of Hanukkah and how God orchestrated events to restore the temple and protect His people.

4. “One True Light” – This song focuses on the theme of salvation and recognizing Jesus as the ultimate light of the world. It can help children understand the deeper spiritual significance of Hanukkah and how it foreshadows the coming of Christ.

Questions for Lesson

1. How does Hanukkah impact your understanding of the significance of religious freedom?
2. In what ways can we relate the story of Hanukkah to our own lives as Christians?
3. What can we learn from the Maccabean Revolt and the events surrounding Hanukkah about God’s faithfulness and provision?
4. Can you recall the key elements and symbols associated with Hanukkah and explain their historical context?
5. How does the celebration of Hanukkah remind us of the miracles and power of God?
6. Based on the story of Hanukkah, what can we apply to our lives to deepen our commitment to God and our witness to others?


– 1 Maccabees 4:36-61
– John 10:22

Object Lesson

Title: The Festival of Dedication: Discovering the Historical Context of Hanukkah

Props Needed:
1. A small menorah with nine candles (one as the “shamash” or helper candle)
2. An enlarged picture or drawing of the Second Temple in Jerusalem
3. A small container with olive oil
4. A box of fresh doughnuts or a drawing/sketch of a typical Hanukkah treat
5. A toy soldier or miniature sword
6. A small stack of coins (representing Hanukkah gelt)

“Hello, young friends! Today, we are going to explore the fascinating Festival of Dedication, also known as Hanukkah. We’ll discover the historical context behind this joyful celebration by using some props. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!”

Illustration Steps:

1. Begin by showing the small menorah with nine candles (shamash plus eight). Explain that Hanukkah celebrates an important moment in the history of the Jewish people, specifically during the time of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

2. Display the enlarged picture or drawing of the Second Temple. Explain how it was a sacred place for the Jewish people, where they worshipped and offered sacrifices to God.

3. Introduce the small container of olive oil. Explain that during the Second Temple period, the Jewish people had to rebuild their sacred temple after it was desecrated. They discovered only a single, small container of pure olive oil, enough to light the menorah for just one day.

4. Light the shamash candle of the menorah. Explain that the Jewish people believed in miracles and decided to light the menorah candle anyway. They hoped the small amount of oil would last until more pure oil could be prepared.

5. Show the box of fresh doughnuts or present a drawing/sketch of a typical Hanukkah treat. Explain that in honor of the miracle, traditional foods are enjoyed during Hanukkah. These delicious treats are typically fried in oil to remind us of the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days.

6. Introduce the toy soldier or miniature sword. Explain that during the time of Hanukkah, there was a group of Jewish fighters called the Maccabees. They fought against a much larger army to protect their faith and their temple. Their courage and determination are celebrated during this festival.

7. Finally, show the small stack of coins, representing Hanukkah gelt. Explain that during Hanukkah, children often receive small gifts or money as a symbol of joy and celebration.

“Now you know more about the Festival of Dedication, Hanukkah! It’s a special time to remember the miracle of the oil, the bravery of the Maccabees, and the importance of celebrating our traditions. Next time you see a menorah or enjoy a Hanukkah treat, you will remember this wonderful story. Happy Hanukkah, everyone!”

Craft Idea

Title: Hanukkah Candle Holder Craft

Lesson Background: The Festival of Dedication, also known as Hanukkah, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. This craft will help young evangelical Christian children understand the historical context of Hanukkah and learn about the significance of lighting the Hanukkah candles.

– Empty glass jar
– Assorted colorful tissue paper or colored cellophane
– Craft glue or mod podge
– Paintbrush
– Scissors
– Tea light candle or battery-operated LED candle


1. Begin by explaining the historical context of Hanukkah and why it is celebrated. Emphasize the themes of dedication, perseverance, and God’s provision.

2. Give each child an empty glass jar and instruct them to clean and dry it thoroughly.

3. Provide a variety of colorful tissue papers or colored cellophane for the children to choose from. Explain that these represent the joyful celebration of Hanukkah.

4. Instruct the children to tear or cut the tissue paper/cellophane into small pieces orthin strips.

5. Using a paintbrush or a craft glue applicator, have each child apply a thin layer of glue or mod podge to the outside of their glass jar.

6. Encourage the children to stick the torn tissue paper or cellophane onto the jar, overlapping the pieces to create a mosaic effect. It’s okay if it’s not perfectly neat; it adds to the charm!

7. Once the entire jar is covered in tissue paper or cellophane, allow it to dry for a few minutes.

8. While waiting for the jars to dry, discuss the symbolism of the Hanukkah candles. Explain that each night of Hanukkah, a candle is lit on the menorah to remember the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days.

9. Once the jars are dry, place a tea light candle or a battery-operated LED candle inside each one.

10. As a closing reflection, gather the children around and have each child share how their colorful candle holder represents the joy, dedication, and provision of God. Encourage them to remember the message of Hanukkah and apply it to their own lives.

This craft allows young evangelical Christian children to engage with the historical context of Hanukkah while also exploring the themes of dedication and God’s provision.


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