It’s true, one of my favorite Christmas shows is the Dr. Seuss classic, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ (1966). The wiry villain plans to dress up like Santa and sneak into houses to steal stockings and presents and trees… that is, until he meets little Cindy Lou Who from Whoville. But you don’t have to be green and have bad teeth to mess up Christmas, and you don’t have to live in Whoville to have it stolen from you (see ‘PS’ below)!
The Scrooge Grinch
Christmas is a time of joy, at least it should be. After all, the angels appeared with the message that Christ‘s birth was an event that would bring ‘great joy which shall be to all people’ (Luke 2:10). But sadly, many will have a Bah, Humbug attitude. A heart two sizes too small for this season. Some people are just miserable, and the merrier you are the worse they are! This is something I, personally, have to work on: a negative, pessimistic spirit. I realize that Christmastime often amplifies the loneliness or loss that someone might bee feeling, but this is no time to sing the blues. If we have no joy in the incarnation of Christ, then where do we find joy? Proverbs 17:22 shows the contrast of spirits, A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. If it feels natural to be sad this season, seek a supernatural joy that will heal from the inside out!
The Secular Grinch
In one generation, the ACLU and FFR have succeeded to scare many businesses and organizations into closeting their nativity scenes and hiding Jesus from the public eye. They have cried things like ‘separation of church and state’ and ‘equal rights.’ But what they really mean is: ‘We can’t stand Jesus and the exclusive message that He’s the only Savior of the world who came to forgive us of our sins.’ Some owners / managers have even canceled the popular service, Muzak, in their places of business because of complaints that some songs played were ‘too religious.’ Now most store clerks may only wish you a “Happy Holidays” and schools have “Winter Break.” Don’t fall into this trap! Buy Christmas cards that celebrate Christ’s birth. Wish people “Merry Christmas” even if they don’t you. Don’t be afraid to celebrate Jesus’ birth. This is your opportunity – don’t waste it on Frosty, Santa, and Rudolf! And please stop replacing the most important name in the world with an ‘X’ – this secularization is a trick of the Devil!
The Super-Spiritual Grinch
On the other side of the fence are the very pious grinches… religious zealots who cannot enjoy Christmas because of its pagan roots and secular abuses. In 274 AD, Emporer Aurelian started a celebration for the ‘birth of the unconquered sun’ because the days were beginning to get a little longer and spring would soon be coming. It would be a shame to not celebrate the birth of the Unconquered Son, would it not!?! Yes, it’s true that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25. There is much evidence to show that He was probably born closer to the end of September (dates of Roman taxation, during Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, schedule of Abian priesthood, etc.). May I please remind the super-spiritual bunch of a few very relevant passages: Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. One of the hardest parts of feeling like you are right is letting other people come to their conclusions about it. Believe me, I know! So, if you are the ultra-conservative who thinks everyone who doesn’t know that Santa is an anagram for Satan – just be patient. Lay off the judgmental attitude! Have the spirit of Christ this Christmas.
**My family and I don’t celebrate Santa in our home, but since the Bible never addresses him in particular, I’d be careful to be so harsh against people who do (After all, St. Nicholas was a pretty awesome man, it’s true!). I will say that lying to your kids (in a sense that violates their innocence) is wrong. I will also add that nothing should ever take the place of Christ (which exactly where Santa ranks with many). We need to be pointing people to Jesus, not to an imaginary friend. After all, there is ONE who sees you when you’re sleeping/awake, ONE who knows if you’re bad/good, and ONE who gives good gifts to His children! Don’t let anything take His place!
The Shopping Grinch
In my opinion, the worst grinch of all is materialism. And it seems to sink its teeth into just about everyone this time of year! I know I’ve had to figure out ways to pry its claws out of my own heart again this year. The wise men seem to have started the gift-giving. Actually, they only responded to God giving us His Son! Now, we spend far more than we have, to give gifts to people we don’t really even like. And, more often than not, the gift is more about impressing the recipient than it is actually meeting a need or showing real compassion. It’s the only birthday party you go to where the birthday boy doesn’t receive any gifts! The greatest gift you can give is yourself. Give to Christ; give to others. Give like Jesus gave: personally, permanently, and practically. How? Give of yourself. Stop buying and start loving. Stop shopping and start sacrificing. Spend less, give more, and for goodness’ sake, live generously!
PS – The idea of someone ‘stealing’ Christmas is quite far-fetched, I would agree. Presents, lights, trees, food maybe – but never Christmas itself. The world, my flesh, & the Devil didn’t give it to me, so they can’t take it away! But they can convince me to trade it off for a cheap counterfeit, a milder substitute. Don’t buy into their lies… hold the spirit of Christmas (Jesus Christ) close to your heart and never let go!