Hanukkah 2012: What Every Christian Should Know About the Jewish Holiday

Fox News believes that Christians worry about a "war on Christmas," but the fact is that cultures around the world have always celebrated in the wintertime. This holiday season, why not resolve to experience the mystery of God that crosses religious borders, and be inspired by the plurality and diversity of deeply faithful, spiritual people. If you join me in doing this, here is the information you need to celebrate Hanukkah.

Saturday night found the world's Jews enjoying community as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, began. Hanukkah commemorates a miracle that occurred in Jerusalem during the Maccabean revolt in the second century BCE. The Syrians occupied Jerusalem and began suppressing Jewish customs. During the conflict, the temple's menorah, or ritual lamp, was running out of oil.

Although it only had fuel enough for one night, the lamp burned brightly for eight nights until help could arrive.

Although this story has been a powerful symbol of Jewish identity and resilience over 22 centuries of oppression, Hanukkah was not a particularly important holiday until modern times. Jews do not abstain from work and children do not normally get out of school. It has always been a popular part of Jewish identity, and the symbolic menorah is usually lit in a public place to share the miracle with the world.

A typical modern Hanukkah evening for an American family will include the lighting of a candle on the menorah, a unique 9-armed candleabra. Songs and psalms will be sung, simple gifts like toy dreidels or chocolate coins will be given to children, and oily foods like potato pancakes and donuts will be eaten. If you'd like to try a spin at dreidel, check out these online rules.

A good time is had by all.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Andy Morgan

Andy wants to help you look forward to the 21st century in terms of the religious experience of Millennials like him.

MORE FROM

The 'RuPaul's Drag Race' finale format change just saved the show from predictability

Predictability seized the last few seasons of 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' but season nine's finale flipped the script.

Journalist Kevin Powell sues 'All Eyez on Me' filmmakers, claims they stole from his Tupac articles

More bad news for the embattled Tupac Shakur biopic.

Who won 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9?

A lip-sync battle tournament leads to a surprising winner.

Halsey just started a feud with Iggy Azalea

The pop singer thinks Azalea is a "fucking moron."

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin has a new TV show in the works

An early, gory novella from Martin is heading to Syfy.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale

The 'RuPaul's Drag Race' finale format change just saved the show from predictability

Predictability seized the last few seasons of 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' but season nine's finale flipped the script.

Journalist Kevin Powell sues 'All Eyez on Me' filmmakers, claims they stole from his Tupac articles

More bad news for the embattled Tupac Shakur biopic.

Who won 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9?

A lip-sync battle tournament leads to a surprising winner.

Halsey just started a feud with Iggy Azalea

The pop singer thinks Azalea is a "fucking moron."

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin has a new TV show in the works

An early, gory novella from Martin is heading to Syfy.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale