Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Special: Celebrating Christmas, or X'mas?

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” — Mk. 11:15-17

This Christmas season, even as we celebrate Christmas, I believe it is imperative that we refocus on what is important. While the rest of the world treats this as holiday and a time of merry making and shopping, what should our focus and attitude be as Christians?

In the passage of Mk. 11:15-17, we read of the account of Jesus cleansing the temple. In this passage, Jesus entered the temple, and was filled with righteous indignation at what was going on within it. While the temple was supposed to a place for prayer to God, Jesus found a marketplace thriving within the temple courts. Instead of prayer, commerce prevails, and Mammon is King. Such prostitution and desecration of the place of worship incurs the wrath of Jesus, who overturned the tables of the merchants there and stopped the entire commercial endeavor in its tracks. Jesus likened this enterprise to making the house of God into a 'den of robbers', castigating the people involved.

One immediate application can be immediately seen is that we should not allow anything which is of the world; any commercial interest to be present within the church. Church should be a place for prayer and worship, and fellowship, NOT for networking, marketing, and definitely not the selling of insurances. Whoever does any of these things ought to repent immediately of profaning the house of God by such activities of theirs.

Another point of application which more pertains to this season is with regards to the focus of our hearts during this season. As Christmas approaches, which is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of our Lord, we ought to prepare our hearts to worship Him. As such, the celebration of Christmas ought to be marked by worship of the One who came 2000 years ago through His incarnate birth to be our Savior, to save us from the wrath of God against sinners such as us. This is totally incompatible with the world's celebration of X'mas, with their carnal celebration of a holiday without Christ, or shopping and more shopping, and of Christmas trees and Santa Claus and presents upon presents. We as the sons and daughters of God should have no part in such carnality. We ought not to introduce and mix the profane things of this world with the sacred things of our God.

Therefore, as the season approaches and is now upon us, let us examine our hearts. Are we ready to worship Christ and remember his Incarnation? Or are we caught up in the preparations common to the world? Do we celebrate Christmas, or X'mas? Perhaps it would be instrumental for us to remove all the so-called Christmas decorations, and instead focus on the things which are truly important; the conditions of our hearts before our Lord.

Prayer: Lord, please help us during this season of Christmas. Help us, O Father, to remember the sending of Your son Jesus Christ 2000 years ago, and the purpose of His coming. May we meditate on Your great love towards us, that You have send us Your Son to die for our sins, in order that we might be saved from Your fiery wrath poured against us sinners. Give us this heart of quiet meditation to meditate on Your truths, and may we not be caught up in the world's profane and carnal celebration of X'mas. Help us also, Lord, to be ready to give an answer to all whom we meet this season, to tell them of the Good News of Your Son, to show them the true reason for the Season. In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen.

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