Originally published Tuesday, 20 December 2016.
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME." John 2:13-18 NAS
It might seem like an odd passage to highlight during the Christmas season, but as we mine for gems from this section of Scripture, I think there is some treasure here for us.
When Jesus looked at His people and His Father’s house, He was deeply grieved because of the greed and worldliness that had come to define the way things were carried out in the temple. As Christians we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. So when God looks at us, the way we go about doing our daily chores, the way we seek holiness, the way we interact with others.... what does He see? Does He see His temple filled with the aroma of prayer and praise? Does He see the reflection of His own heart for the needy and lost? Or does He see greed and worldliness?
Christmas isn’t Jesus real birthdate, but it is the season that we stop and thank God for His incredible plan to save us and for the way He came to earth to live with us and die for us. So as the season of remembering our Savior’s birth, doesn’t it seem like we, as individuals and corporately as the church, ought to reflect His heart even more than normal?
When the world looks at the way we celebrate Jesus’ birth, do they see commercialism and money-changers? Or do they see sweet generosity and selfless giving? Do they see the humility with which Christ came to earth - wrapped in rags, born in a stable, with the first birth announcement going to low-class shepherds - in the way we reach out to people? As we prepare for the joyous celebrations of the season, may our Father in heaven and the world around us see the True Light of Christmas.