The eight days of Jewish of Hanukkah (Hebrew for “Dedication”) began last night, the 25th day of the midwinter month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. (Hanukkah is on different days of our calendar each year, because months of Jewish calendar are 29 or 30 days to always begin with New Moon. They need 13th "leap month" every few years to catch up.) Is it more than a coincidence that Christmas is also on the 25th day of our midwinter month?
Some 175 years before Jesus was born, Antiochus IV became Emperor of one third of the Greek Empire previously conquered by Alexander-the-Great. To increase his power, Antiochus ordered all nations in his empire to fully embrace Greek customs and worship Zeus and the other Greek gods.
Although Jews (Judeans) in what is now Israel paid taxes and loyally followed all other laws of the Empire, they continued to teach the Bible and follow its laws in their personal lives.
This was not enough. The Emperor declared that the Jewish religion was subversive and had to be eliminated.
Any Jew caught in possession of a Bible or teaching or following Bible laws was arrested, tortured and executed. Most wealthy and successful Jews complied with the orders of the Greek Emperor to keep their privileges.
However, the Maccabees, one family of priests, left Jerusalem and formed an army to fight the Greeks--and their Jewish collaborators. After years of fighting and terrible losses, they won and preserved the Jewish people and religion.
The Maccabees proclaimed the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah when they re-dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem.
Some two hundred years later, Roman emperors persecuted Christians in much the same way. Those Christians were inspired by the Hanukkah miracles that saved Jews in the days of the Macabbees. Those early Christians prayed for miracles to save them from being arrested, tortured and killed in stadiums as entertainment. And they included the Books of the Maccabees in the "Apocrypha" of their Bible.