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Reply to "COMPLETE LESSON SET: 1 Maccabees - The Story of Hanukkah ~ Rev. Ron Shifley"

1 Maccabees 4:6-59 "The Story of Hanukkah"

Computer Lesson Plan

Resources Needed: 

  • iLumina Bible software, Tyndale House Publishers, 2010 (out of print - see Adaptation Notes in lesson)
  • Cal & Marty Scripture Memory Game software (Sunday Software)
      Note: Cal & Marty software is FREE to supporting members, Learn more here!
  • Web based – History Channel online video “Origins of Hanukkah” and Kidz Page online games “Hanukkah for Kids” (Internet connection required to utilize these resources)
  • “The Story of Hanukkah” by Bobbi Katz, Random House, 1995 (Children’s story book for preschool age)
  • Crayons (optional for preschool kids)  See below
  • Bible

Teacher Preparation:

  1. Read the Scripture passages prayerfully, asking God to show you what He has to say to you and to those He’s given you to teach.
  2. Read the Biblical Explanation and Background, and think about what concepts you need to teach.
  3. Make internet short cut for History Channel video “Origins of Hanukkah” ( onto computer desktop for easy access (if video will not play in your region then create shortcut to it on Youtube at (
  4. Make internet short cut for Kidz Page “Hanukkah for Kids” ( onto computer desktop for easy access. [Tip: make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.]
  5. Install Psalm 27:1 memory verse onto Cal & Marty Scripture Memory Game for each computer.
  6. Familiarize yourself with all of the software and online content that the kids will be using  prior to class so that you can seamlessly guide them through all of the activities.

Lesson Plan


Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Open with a prayer.


Teach about where the story of 1 Maccabees fits into the Bible, briefly describing that this story recounts the origins of the biblical holiday of Hanukkah that Jesus himself celebrated at the  Jerusalem Temple (John 10:22-23).  If it is past the first Sunday of this rotation, first ask the children to relate what they’ve already learned about Maccabees and Hanukkah in other workshops. 

Web Based Video – “Origins of Hanukkah”  (3:40 running time) 

Have kids click on  the internet shortcut for History Channel video “Origins of Hanukkah” that you made prior to class.  Have kids watch the video. 

Then, say: Today we're going to explore the origins of the biblical holiday of Hanukkah, visit the Temple in Jerusalem where the miracle took place, and have fun playing online games to celebrate the holiday for ourselves, 

ILumina Bible 


  1. Double click on the iLumina icon on the desktop to open the program.
  2. Click “Encyclopedia”.
  3. Click “All Articles”.
  4. In the box entitled “All Articles” on left hand side of screen, type “1 Maccabees”.
  5. Click go button.
  6. Select “1 Maccabees 4” from list that appears.  Text for 1 Maccabees chapter 4 will appear at right
  7. Say: Today we’re going to read the story of Hanukkah for ourselves.  This story appears in a book called 1 Maccabees.  It was written about 100 years before the birth of Jesus.  1 Maccabees was never included in the Bible.  If we were to place it in our Bibles, it would go between the book of Malachi (the last book of the Old Testament) and the gospel of Matthew (the first book of the New Testament) because the story of Maccabees takes place between the times that the Old and New Testaments were written.
  8. Help kids scroll down to verse 6.  Have kids take turns reading 1 Maccabees 4:6-59. 9. After verse 11 has been read, stop the kids and reread verse
  9. “Remember how our ancestors were saved at the Red Sea when Pharaoh pursued them with his army.”  Ask the kids if any of them remember what Bible story Judas is talking about that happened at the Red Sea.  Have kid recount the story of Moses parting the Red Sea from last month.
    Ask: Why do you think Judas Maccabees had his men remember this story as they faced the Greek army in their day? (He wanted to remind them that God saved his people in the time of the Exodus and that God can do the same thing today) 9. Have the kids resume reading the story form 1 Maccabees 4.
  10. When verse 32 is read, have the kids stop and ask: Do you know what Bible story Judas mentions in his prayer right here (verse 30)? (David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17) Have students tell you the story of David and Goliath.  Then ask: Why do you think Judas mentions David’s victory over Goliath in his prayer to God before facing the enemy? (Judas is asking God to give them the same kind of faith and courage that David had when they faced their enemy in battle.  He is also praying for a similar victory)
  11. Have the kids resume reading the story from 1 Maccabees 4.
  12. When verse 36 is read, have the kids stop and explain that the reason the Maccabees wanted to “cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it” is because the Greeks had taken over the Temple a couple of years earlier, and the Jews want to use it to worship God again.
  13. Have the kids resume reading the story from 1 Maccabees 4.
  14. When verse 40 is read, ask the kids why they felt the Maccabees got so upset when they saw the condition of the Temple. Say: Their response would be the same as if somebody’s house was destroyed by a tornado, a fire or a flood.  They were sad that the Temple was standing in ruins.  Explain to the kids that the reason the Jews tore their clothes and sprinkled ashes on themselves was that this was the way they mourned when a loved one died.  Say: The Jews were so sad by what they saw at the Temple, that they mourned like a family member had passed away.
  15. Have the kids resume reading the story from 1 Maccabees 4.
  16. When verse 51 is read, have the kids stop and ask the kids what the Maccabees did to clean up the Temple to make it ready for worship again. (They cleaned the sanctuary, built a new altar,  made new holy vessels, hung up the curtains,  brought in the lampstand and lit the lamps on the lampstand.)
  17. Share with the kids that the lighting of the lampstand (menorah) was important because it represented the light of God in the Temple.  Once the menorah was lit and shining with holy fire, the people felt that the Temple was ready for God’s presence to enter in again and that God could worship there once more.
  18. Have kids finish reading the story from 1 Maccabees 4
  19. Say that the Maccabees were so excited that they Temple was clean again and ready for worship, that they declared an annual holiday called the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah to celebrate the Temple’s cleansing.  Every year in November or December people celebrate the eight day holiday of Hanukkah starting on the exact day that the Temple was rededicated.  The Bible tells us that Jesus also celebrated Hanukkah at the Temple.  Read the passage John 10:22-23 to the kids from your Bible. 

Say: Each year on Hanukkah we remember the faith of the Maccabees, the cleansing and rededication of the Temple and that “The Lord is my light and salvation – whom shall I fear?” (Psalms 27:1).  Have kids repeat the Bible memory verse with you a couple of times. 

[Adaptation Note: iLumina Bible software is now out of print.  To do the same activity, Create internet shortcut for the text of 1 Maccabees 4:6-59 ( on the desktop of all computers ahead of class so that students can read the passage online.  Follow same teaching suggestions as above.] 

[Preschool option: Since preschoolers can’t read the text of 1 Maccabees, read the children’s book, “The Story of Hanukkah” by Bobbi Katz to them instead.  Make sure you show them the pictures!] 

Say: Today we get a chance to visit the Temple in Jerusalem, the place that Jesus visited on Hanukkah, the place that the Maccabees cleansed to so God could be worshipped again.

  1. Have kids take their mouse and click on “Media Center” at top of page.
  2. On drop down menu, have kids click on “Virtual Tours”.
  3. Once there at menu on left, have kids click on “Temple Mount” and then “Solomon’s Colonnade”  this will take kids on a virtual tour of the Temple in Jerusalem.  Say: this is the spot that Jesus was in the Bible passage that I just read to you.  Jesus was teaching in the outer court of the Temple.  (Let kids explore this section a bit)
  4. Have the kids go back to the menu at left and then have them click on “The Holy Place”.  Say: Now let’s go inside the Temple itself and explore a bit.  Have kids click on the bubble next to where the priest is standing to get a closer view of the Temple furnishings.  Let kids look around and click on bubbles next to objects to learn more about them.  Highlight especially the menorah, and say this is the lampstand that was relit by the Maccabees.  Share with the in brief the legend about the menorah and how one night’s worth of holy oil kept the menorah lit for eight nights until  more purified oil could be produced.  Tell them this is why the menorah is the symbol of Hanukkah and why people who celebrate Hanukkah light candles on a menorah to remind them of God’s miracle in the Temple menorah.
  5. Once kids have explored all of the object of the Holy Place, have them click on “x” at top right of screen to exit out of iLumina. 

[Adaptation Note: iLumina Bible software is now out of print.  To engage in similar activity, GLO Bible software by Zondervan/Immersion Digital, 2009, offers a similar experience.  Click on “Media” then “Virtual Tours”  then “Herodian Temple” Click “Go Holy Place”.  This will take students into the Holy Place where students will find almost identical virtual tour as iLumina Bible.  Have students explore the chamber, clicking on various objects, especially the menorah.  Use same questions as above.] 

Web Based Games - The Kidz Page (Hanukkah for Kids) 

Have kids click on the internet shortcut for The Kidz Page “Hanukkah For Kids”  that you made prior to class. 

Say:  Hanukkah today is a fun holiday that remembers God’s miracle in the Temple so many years ago.  Today we’re going to get a chance to play a few online games to help remember and celebrate the  miraculous way that the menorah stayed lit for eight nights. 

Direct kids to one of the color Menorah jigsaw puzzles halfway down the page.  Have kids choose between the “Star of David” menorah and the “Happy Hanukkah” menorah.  Have younger kids click on 6 piece puzzle link; older kids click on at least 12 piece puzzle link.  Allow kids time to solve the same puzzle again with harder piece selection or to choose other puzzles on the web page.  Before you leave the web page, direct preschool kids  to one of the printable coloring pages linked so kids can print out a coloring page to either work on in class (if there is extra time) or take home with them. 

[Tech Tip: Make sure you have the latest version of Flash Player, when you click on an online puzzle you should see "Run Adobe Flash" to play, if you don't then you need to update your Flash Player]

Cal & Marty Scripture Memory Game 


  1. Click on the Cal& Marty icon
  2. Have kids type one of their names in the space as prompted
  3. Click select verse when prompted; then click on “1 Maccabees” from list; then select Psalm 27:1.
  4. Have kids study the verse.  Then click scramble to play the game.
  5. Allow time for both kids in the group to unscramble the memory verse.
  6. Click “End Game” to exit program

End session with prayer.

Written by Rev. Ron Shifley from Scotland United Church of Christ
Scotland, SD, USA

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