Hi Friends, Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt be sure to start at Stop #1 and collect all the clues through the 30 stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes!
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I’m very happy to introduce award-winning author, Angela Hunt. I’ve read and loved many of Angela’s books, and I’ve enjoyed listening to her speak at writers’ conferences. She is a creative woman with many talents, including writing and photography.
Here is a brief summary of her newest release, Judah’s Daughter: Leah, the daughter of an abusive father, is relieved when she marries Judah, a gentle giant. But when Judah’s father draws the family into war, Leah finds herself married to a warrior, and she’s not sure she can handle the change . . .
WHY I LOVE KOSHER JELLY DOUGHNUTS
By Angela Hunt
My dental hygienist, Cheryl, is Jewish. When I was beginning to research the book that would become Judah’s Wife, I happily told Cheryl that I had learned all kinds of things about the Jews in the second century before Christ.
“Hanukkah?” She asked. “You’re learning about Hanukkah?”
I frowned. “Um . . . I haven’t gotten to that yet.”
But weeks later, I did. I learned that the Seleucids, an empire of Greek-influenced Syrians, had taken over Judea and required the Jews to abandon their acts of faith. No circumcising baby boys, no observing the Sabbath, no abstaining from pork and shellfish. Any Jewish person found practicing the Law of Moses would be tortured and put to death.
Antiochus Epiphanes, the Seleucid king who came to Jerusalem, was so intent on creating a homogeneous Empire that he visited the Holy Temple and desecrated the altar by sacrificing a pig–to Zeus, mind you. He declared that the Temple would be a place to worship Zeus, then he went back to Antioch and left his henchmen to enforce his laws in Judea.
When Judah Maccabaeus and his brothers led the ragtag army of Judea against these invaders, God granted them a mighty victory. The word Hanukkah means dedication in Hebrew, and after Judah and his men cleansed and rededicated the Temple, Judah declared that the people should celebrate for seven days. That was the first Hanukkah, and Jews have been celebrating it ever since.
When I went back to the dentist, I told Cheryl that I now understood Hanukkah. “Oh, so you heard about the oil,” she said. “The uncontaminated vial they found that burned for seven days.”
Again, I shook my head. “I’m sorry,” I told her. “But there is absolutely no mention of a vial of oil or a miraculous burning lamp in any of the original documents.”
“I’ll ask my brother the rabbi about it,” she said.
“And I’ll do more research,” I promised.
When I went back to see her six months later, with a copy of Judah’s Wife in hand, I said, “I’m sorry, but I learned that there is absolutely no mention of the miracle of the oil until hundreds of years later. Experts think rabbis created the story for the sake of young children—because it seemed unseemly to celebrate a bloody war for seven days.”
“My brother said you’re right,” she said, a little mournfully. “It’s probably just a story.”
I felt bad—who wants to burst someone’s bubble? “Well,” I said, “if it helps, we Christians have our traditions, too. People think the wise kings came to see baby Jesus on the night He was born, but they weren’t kings and they probably arrived months later. People talk about the angels singing to the shepherds, but the Bible never says they sang. People think Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem, but if there was a donkey, it was probably carrying water jugs and food for the journey. In fact, Jesus was probably born in springtime, not in winter.”
“Still,” she said. “When you grow up believing something—”
“Hanukkah is still a miracle,” I said. “That an unskilled group of farmers and Torah scholars could overcome one of the world’s leading armies—that’s a miracle. That they could face battle elephants and horses and rolling towers and catapults—that’s a miracle. That they could turn a battered, burned, starving city into a place of refuge and restoration—that’s the real miracle of Hanukkah.”
Hanukkah offers encouragement for Christians today. The Jews of Judah’s day were being pressured—to the point of death—to conform to the world, yet the devout remained true to their God. Christians in our day are being pressured to conform to the world, but will we remain true? The Maccabees set a glorious and challenging example.
At Hanukkah, Jews in Israel eat these wonderful jelly doughnuts, called Sufganiot. They are wonderful any time, and you can find the recipe here: https://www.thespruce.com/hanukkah-doughnuts-sufganiot-2121658
Why not make some for your family at Easter? What better way to say we are dedicated to Christ?
Angela Hunt is the author of more than 140 books for children and adults. Read more about her work at www.angelahuntbooks.com.
Here’s the Stop #5 Skinny:
Clue to write down: FOUND
Link to Stop #6, Angela Hunt’s own site!
***** But wait, before you go, I’m offering my own giveaway! Two books to two winners! You may choose Shine Like the Dawn or Across the Blue. This giveaway is open to US winners only. To enter, just sign up to receive my email newsletter in the box at the top right on this page, and then leave a comment below, telling me if you are new subscriber, or if you already receive my newsletters. Winners will be announced on 3/5 and contacted by email.
Thanks for stopping by!