The eight-day feast of Hanukkah, a festival of lights, occurs in the darkest time of year. It commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. after it was cleansed by Judas Maccabeus when the Jews prevailed against the Seleucid Greeks of Syria.
When the special oil for the Temple lamp stand could not be obtained in time, Judah Maccabeus took a step of faith (and a risk) by lighting the lamp with only one day’s supply of oil. It burned miraculously for eight days until the extra oil arrived.
Many scholars place the time of Mary’s annunciation and the conception of Christ (rather than his birth) at this time of year, and the festival contains numerous types and foreshadowings of Christ’s coming.