Earlier this month as the kids were marking off the days on the wall calendar, they noticed Hanukkah on there and asked what it was. And to be honest I didn’t really know how to answer that other than to say it was a Jewish holiday. So I turned to Nathan and said that we enjoyed celebrating the Passover this past year, maybe it would be fun to celebrate Hanukkah too. And so we did!
I spent some time finding out all about the holiday so that we could do it. First thing I found out – it is kind of hard to find a menorah at the local Wal-mart :) So we came up with our own 9 candle display.
8 candles to represent the 8 days of the miracle of Hanukkah and then the one candle in the middle is called the shamash and is used to light the other candles. On the first night of Hanukkah we lit one candle and then watched this somewhat humorous watered down version the the story of Judah Maccabee and the lighting of the eternal flame in the temple.
Essentially the story is that the King of Syria conquered Israel and told all the Jewish people that they could no longer worship their God, but had to worship the heathen gods of Syria. The Syrians even went so far as to desecrate the Jewish temple. Judah Maccabee and his followers used gorilla warfare to bite away at the Syrian army and with their faith in God on their side they were able to defeat the Syrians and reclaim the Temple. After cleansing the Temple, they rededicated it and lit the Eternal Flame. When they went to light the flame, they discovered that the holy oil used to supply the lamp had been used and that there was only one days worth of oil. The process to press the olives and create the sacred oil takes eight days. So acting on faith, they lit the lamp and the cruse of oil continued to be filled for eight days until new oil could be created. Thus the miracle and why Hanukkah is called the festival of lights. In the scriptures it is referred to as the feast of dedication.
On the second night of Hanukah we talked about the Jewish symbol, the Star of David.
The star is composed of two triangles. One pointing up, representing our Heavenly Father, and one pointing down, representing us here on earth. The two triangles are intertwined together to represent how our lives are intertwined with God. We talked about the love of God and read a little from this talk by President Uchtdorf. My favorite quote from the talk is, “Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.”
We made lots of the stars and then used them as our Hanukkah decorations. I thought they were really cute!
On the third night of Hanukkah, we talked about miracles and about all the miracles that Christ performed while on earth.
We watched seven or eight of these little children’s scripture videos about the different miracles that Christ performed. The kids really liked this one about Christ calming the storm:
On the forth night of Hanukkah we talked about the small miracles or blessings that occur in our lives every day. We then made a blessing book and each day for the rest of Hanukkah we wrote down things that happened that day that were blessings.
Some of my favorites that the kids listed as blessings:
Mandy’s substitute teacher helped her with her work at school.
Getting to play with stuffed animals.
The nurse let Dallin borrow a long sleeve shirt when it was time to go outside for recess because he forgot his coat .
Layton got a flamingo from the prize box at school.
And so on…
More to come about days 5-8…