Everyone knows what Christmas is all about (ever since Linus explained it to Charlie Brown), but how many can say the same for Hanukkah?
Well, it's all about the Hanukkah killings in the first book of Maccabees (Killing 145 in Drunk With Blood: God's killings in the Bible).
Here's the story.
The year following Lysias gathered together threescore thousand chosen men, and five thousand horsemen. 1 Machabees 4:28Judas asked God to deliver the Syrians like he did the mighty and the strangers to David and Jonathan.
Judas met them with ten thousand men ... and he prayed, and said: Blessed art thou, O Saviour of Israel, who didst break the violence of the mighty by the hand of thy servant David, and didst deliver up the camp of the strangers into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul and of his armourbearer. 4:29-30He asked God to scare the hell out of them.
Strike them with fear ... and let them quake at their own destruction. 4:32And kill them with the sword of those that love him.
Cast them down with the sword of them that love thee: and let all that know thy name, praise thee with hymns. 4:33And it worked. God helped Judas kill 5000.
And there fell of the army of Lysias five thousand men. 4:34After God "discomfited" the Gentiles, Judas and his brethren went to clean up the Temple.
Then Judas, and his brethren said: Behold our enemies are discomfited: let us go up now to cleanse the holy places and to repair them. 4:36They found the Temple to be a bit of a mess.
And they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burnt, and shrubs growing up in the courts as in a forest, or on the mountains, and the chambers joining to the temple thrown down. 4:38So they did the usual things that Jews do when they get upset: they rent their garments, put ashes on their heads, and fell on their faces.
They rent their garments ... and put ashes on their heads ...And they fell ... on their faces. 4:39-40Then they cleaned things up at the Temple and killed some animals for God.
They made new holy vessels, and brought in the candlestick, and the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. And they put incense upon the altar, and lighted up the lamps ... And they offered sacrifice. 4:49-53And everyone fell on their faces once again. (You just can't do that too many times.)
And all the people fell upon their faces . 4:55When the Gentiles found out that the Jews had cleaned up the temple, they were exceedingly angry.
Now it came to pass, when the nations round about heard that the altar and the sanctuary were built up as before, that they were exceeding angry. 1 Machabees 5:1So they began to persecute and kill the Jews.
And they thought to destroy the generation of Jacob that were among them, and they began to kill some of the people, and to persecute them. 5:2Which got Judas (and God) in a killing mood once again. He slaughtered the children of Esau.
Judas fought against the children of Esau in Idumea, and them that were in Acrabathane ... and he made a great slaughter of them. 5:3Burned to death the children of Bean.
He remembered the malice of the children of Bean ... And they were shut up by him in towers, and he ... burnt their towers with fire, and all that were in them. 5:4-5And smote the children of Ammon.
Then he passed over to the children of Ammon ... and they were discomfited in their sight, and he smote them. 5:6-7God helped Judas kill the Gentiles because God likes the Jewish people more than other people, likes the Jewish religion more than other religions, and likes Jews to kill and sacrifice animals to him in the Temple. After the slaughter of the Gentiles and the re-dedication of the Temple, the Jews established the annual eight-day festival, which we know today as Hanukkah.
Judas, and his brethren, and all the church of Israel decreed, that the day of the dedication of the altar should be kept in its season from year to year for eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu. 1 Machabees 4:59And that's what Hanukkah is all about, Charlie Brown.