You know the story by now, so I won't retell it here.
The Maccabean revolt was the revolt of a small nation against an overwhelming, globalized Empire, which was forcing a cultural assimilation onto the people it conquered. The festival of Hanukkah celebrates a miracle that occurred as the Maccabees reclaimed a sacred site of their culture from the conquerers. Celebrating Hanukkah is celebrating the struggle to be different, and to resist those who hold superior military and economic power from suppressing and misappropriating an indigenous culture.
The contemporary critique from African American women of Miley Cyrus for misappropriating twerking is in line with the spirit of Hanukkah. Hanukkah argues that God is on the side of cultural resistance to conquest, colonialism and domination.
The problem is that UU's and other religious liberals, have been misappropriating Hanukkah for decades, dragging it into our "Holiday Celebrations of Light in the Darkness" as though it was just one slightly different way of expressing the same, universal impulse.
There is a stage of understanding differences in culture that minimizes those differences: A stage in which a person thinks that "we are all alike beneath our trivial surface differences." UU's have often approached Hanukkah in that spirit. Some UU's don't like Hanukkah because they detect within the story a message that subverts our understanding of Universalism. In some ways, we can be more in tune with the Romans who saw no problem in filling Zion's Temple with altars to many gods and goddesses.
This is an excellent year to upend the traditional UU understanding of Hanukkah. It's not a quaint old story about God's supernatural powers, but a story that reveals real contemporary fault lines in culture. It is a story that also reads us as we read it: who are we in this story? How have we acted in regards to other cultures and religions?