`Tis the season ... for the Grinch. You remember him don't you?
Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . .But the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did not!
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.But I think that the most likely reason of allMay have been that his heart was two sizes too small.1
The Grinch is alive and well. He wants to steal your Christmas. He wants to stuff it into his bag and crawl back to his cave. The Grinch is sly. He won't leave you without some goodies. He will give you consumerism in the place of Christ, rush for rest, and swap you presents for Presence. He's sly alright. He doesn't want to make you anti-Christmas, just apathetic.
But there's good news! God's glory outshines the Grinch's most diabolical plots.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:8-14 ESV
If the Grinch has made off with your Christmas joy, if there is more apathy than awe, or if you need a fresh sense of that Holy Night, there is a way for you to experience the Glory the angels announced:
- Relive the memories.When I was about 12, my dad ventured into the woods to chop down our Christmas tree. There is a certain romanticism about that until you realize it wasn't a Douglas Fir from Sherwood Forrest, but a Longleaf Pine from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. That scrawny pine was the least-likely candidate to be a Christmas tree. As kids, we cringed when we looked at that tree. But now, looking back as adults, we laugh. Out of that frustrating experience the Lord taught us to make more with less. Looking back is important! God regularly called his people to reflect on their past to help them remember his work. Psalm 105, 106, and 107 each call the people of God to give thanks today for what he did yesterday. Christmas provides a great opportunity to do that. What Christmas memory do you have for which you can say, "Thank you, Lord!"
- Rediscover the wonder.Reading the Christmas story over and over, year-after-year, can make us numb to the astounding sense of wonder recorded by the gospel writers: The virgin conceived (Matthew 1:18). Magi mysteriously appeared . . . and then "fell down and worshiped" the baby (Matthew 2:1-12). Angelic voices abruptly announced the good news to a group of bleary-eyed, dirty and tattered shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). We must learn to read the Bible with a holy imagination. We need to sit in astonishment with Mary, travel dusty roads with the wise men, hear the angels speak, run with the shepherds to the manger, and escape into the night with Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:13-15). This is an extraordinary moment. Were it any other story we would use "magical" and "enchanting" to describe what we see, but this is no fantasy. This is reality. Stand in awe!
- Remember the meaning."For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). For unto YOU! Don't miss that. You matter to God. He has been orchestrating history for you! God loves you so much that he went on a rescue mission to bring you back to himself. To save you, he had to become like you. He broke into your world to do that. And now, having saved you, do you think he would ever let you go? No way! God loves you with an everlasting love. That is the message of the Bible.
- Rest in His grace.Christmas has become a time to rush, shop, wrap, bake, party, and attend performances. If we are not careful we can fall into the performance trap: "I hope they like my Christmas decorations . . . my Christmas presents . . . my Christmas dinner . . . my Christmas desserts." Careful! Don't let Christmas be about what you do. Instead, take time to quietly meditate on all that God has done for you. Christmas is not about your work, but His grace. Revel in it. Rest in it. Christmas reminds us that we don't have to "perform" to win God's favor. That's why Jesus came!
The Grinch is on the loose, but he can't steal your Christmas when your heart is set on Christ.
1 Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas
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