I’ll partake in my feasting and wine drinking and merry-making and gift giving for obvious reasons but I wouldn’t say that I’m doing it in the name of the Birth of Christ. For a holiday that’s supposed to commemorate this, I consider the mentioned aspects of it anything but holy. For my own personal reason being that if Jesus was alive and well today and witnessed our modern-day season of giving, he would not approve.
Why? You may ask. Well I like to use the Bible passage taken from John 2:13-16 where it more or less recounted the time Jesus lost his shit.
You know, you remember. When he came to the temple to pray during the Passover and he saw those selling cattle and sheep and doves in the temple, in HIS FATHER’S HOUSE. And he drove them away with a rope whip and started overturning tables #whipped. Money scattering everywhere, animals running a mock, chaos and confusions as the temple vendors were having their asses literally handed to them by the Son of God.
Okay well maybe it was a far stretch to say that Jesus lost his temper as Rage is a big no-no if you’re the Messiah. But he certainly was feeling something and he certainly had a good reason and a clear mind to carry about his actions in the manner in which he did. (John 2:15)
I mean if I came to my home one day and a doubles vendor shack up in my yard, I would be a little more than concerned. Its like having your most sacred most special place desecrated and mooched off by those looking to make a quick buck. Its more than a disrespect, it hurts.
So what’s the connection between that account and Christmas?
Well around the time of the incident, the Passover was near, which was a festival where fruits and animal sacrifices were offered in thanks to God. And just like now there would have been last-minute shoppers buying up the doves and cattle as offerings in the temple which was a normal occurrence during the Passover to give thanks to God. So?
Well Christmas and the Passover similarly shares the theme of giving thanks through the forms of gifts. Aside from the feasting and such both were considered very important secular and non-secular holidays in their given places and times. The gifts were monetarily bought, if not grown or cultivated and with common idea that the more expensive the gift, the greater the quality of the thanks, (which ultimately makes the giver look good). All in God’s name. The same can be said for Christmas in terms of the gift-giving. The more expensive the gift is and in more quantity can be translated as the greater the love and appreciation, (again while making the giver look good).
So you can imagine a lot business owners will be taking this opportunity to make the most money during this lucrative and busiest time of the year. More so with business sales and encouraging the idea that the bigger, more expensive the gifts are the greater the love. And who doesn’t like nice things at a special time of the year.
But at least the intention isn’t bad, it’s all in the name of Jesus and merry-making, what’s the issue?
Well hear it from the Man himself. “Stop making the house of my Father a house of merchandise!” Jesus pleads in the end of verse 16.
What does that mean? Was it just a matter of time and place? If so, wouldn’t it be more peaceful t ask the vendors to move elsewhere or just explain?
Well I’m sure by now you all might have an idea of where I’m getting at. Commercialism or the act of maximizing profits through various means. Which is normal and never in the aforementioned examples were any of the business dealers using any illegal means to acquire their sales. So it could be said in the temple vendors’ case, Jesus was angry that they were doing it at the expense of the Passover and the temple’s sacred purposes.
If you wanna say he was overreacting fine but come on, he wasn’t wrong. Jesus was exceptionally zealous towards his Father and what was right and what the people were doing simply wasn’t. And seeing that it is in our nature as humans to exploit for gain, a divine lesson like this can’t simply be taught with just a public discourse and if he felt the need to beat it into people then so be it, (note however even though Jesus used force and toughness, he wasn’t and never laid a hand on any of his children).
So that’s why I don’t believe that he would approve of the way Christmas is now, seeing that it’s a cut and dry replication of what happened at that time in the temple except on a world-wide scale. And the Media doesn’t help when they turn the “Spirit of Giving” into just “giving” especially when they are benefiting from it. Not that anything’s wrong with that. People gotta make a living some how.
I mean, I like my gifts my wine my ham my feast my presents, my cakes, my food, my pelau, my parang as much as the next guy. But I won’t say I’m doing in His name or whatever.
The same way some humans choose to view Christmas primarily as a secular time of enjoyment and are often accused of “X-ing the Christ out of Christmas” (even though they actually mean the same thing since the symbol X in Greek can mean Christ but here it is used symbolically as excluding the religious aspects of the holiday), it can rightly be argued that it was never there in the first place….
Well not entirely. It is not true that the idea of Christmas was entirely founded upon commercial thinking and there is evidence of its more genuine qualities even today all around you.
Christmas still brings Joy to everyone, whether you view it as secular or not. It is still acknowledged as the one time to be giving and charitable and kind, (even though it is encouraged to be that way all year round of course). Sure the not so kind people in the world might take advantage of this time for their own benefit.
I still don’t view it as something Jesus would approve to be in his name, but I’m sure he’s happy for this time we are at our peak in unity.
Oh and GOD BLESS US EVERYONE….