By Bob Barney
Thanksgiving is not a biblical holy day, but it is recognized by God as a Holy Day! The same applies to Hanukkah! Although the holiday is found in the The Book of Maccabees, which some consider part of the Bible (Catholics) it is not a authorized canonized book in scripture. That being said, there was a miracle, that was written about in Maccabees, and Jesus must have accepted that truth.
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that commemorates the purification and rededication of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus on Kislev 25, 165 BC (usually in December). Three years prior, Antiochus IV, the Seleucid (Syrian) king, defiled the Temple by erecting an idol to Baal Shamen (the Canaanite counterpart for the Greek god Zeus), sacrificing a pig on the altar in the Temple and proclaiming himself to be a god. Some of the coins he minted had his features on the face of Zeus along with the words “Theos Epiphanes” meaning “the god manifest.” He also decreed that Torah (the Law of God) could not be studied under penalty of death; also Jewish males were not to be circumcised and it was forbidden to keep the Sabbath. This brought an internal struggle within Judaism out in the open. On the one hand there were the observant Jews who wanted to keep Torah, continue circumcision and observe the Sabbath. On the other hand, there were Hellenized Jews who wanted to assimilate into the Greek culture around them and become “born again” Greeks! That included wrestling in the gymnasium wearing nothing but their “birthday suits”!
Hellenized Jews. They wanted to become “born-again” Greeks, participating in Greek-style wrestling in the gymnasium. (source)
Many Christians do not know that The Lord Jesus observed the celebration of Hanukkah in the Temple during the winter of AD 29 (Jn 10:22–39). Just prior to this account in John 10, the Apostle John gives two “illustrations” (10:6) of Jesus as the Good Shepherd (10:1–5 and 10:7–10) and records Jesus’ interpretation of these parables (10:11–18). It is the only mention of Hanukkah in the Bible, but one can only accept the idea that Jesus observed it every year, as all of Judah did.
For more on the history of Hanukkah read: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/11/17/Jesus-Celebrates-Hanukkah!.aspx#Article