In 323 B.C. Alexander the Great died and his kingdom was divided among his four generals. The land mass north of Israel, known as Syria, was ruled by Seleucid. One of his descendants, Antiochus Epiphanies, inherited the kingdom. In 168 B.C. Antiochus began a campaign of atrocities against the Jews. People by the thousands were killed, and the sacred altar was defiled when a pig was sacrificed on it. Also, the temple was looted and defiled and a statue of Zeus was erected in the Holy of Holies.

These acts of degradation were met by the rebellion of a priest named Matthias and his five sons. The family gathered other Israelites to their cause and soon formed an army. The family would later take the name of Maccabee, which means, "hammer." After three years of fighting, the Maccabean army drove the Syrians out of the land. Their first action was to cleanse and rededicate the Temple on the 25th of Kislev or December. Some years later, a tradition arose that during the temple cleansing they found a one-day supply of oil for the seven-branched lamp stand. It would take days to ceremonially prepare more oil. A miracle is supposed to have occurred when the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight. That is why there are eight candles lit during Hanukkah. This was the beginning of Hanukkah, which means, "to dedicate" and is also referred to in the Bible as "the Feast of Dedication" John 10:22.

Shortly after 28 A.D. ( after Jesus' resurrection ) Hebrew Christians began to celebrate the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary on Hanukkah. The center branch of the Menorah is called the Shamash, or "servant light" and was also the early Christian's way of illustrating John 1:9: "That was the true Light of mankind". Jesus the Messiah claimed to be the "Light of the world" during the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah. …John 10:22

The Annunciation to the Virgin Mary

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man ? And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, your cousin Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word. And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:34-38