"He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God."- John 1:11-12
I can't go through a Christmas season without watching the animated classic, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". It is a thoroughly entertaining and endearing show. From the silly song "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" to his canine companion "Max" to the Grinch having a heart transformation on Mt. Crumpit there is so much to love and enjoy. Yet of all the sights, sounds, and silliness from this Dr. Seuss masterpiece, for me the show stopper has always been the Who's on Christmas morning. Is there anything better then when the Who's gather in a circle, hold hands, and sing joyfully with all their hearts, despite all of their Christmas "stuff" being swiped by that shady green fellow?
It is the Who's singing that catches the Grinch's by surprise; it is their singing that changes his attitude toward them and about Christmas; and it is their singing that captures the true meaning and message of Christmas. As the narrator tells of the Grinch's epiphany, "Maybe, Christmas he thought doesn't come from a store. Maybe, Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more!" Perhaps this is the message that needs to be triumphantly pronounced during the madness known as holiday shopping. Perhaps this is the focus that is needed by believers, rather than the silliness of sounding off because Starbucks (a secular company) is no longer putting "Merry Christmas" on their red cups. Perhaps this is the melody that those who are struggling with the hurt and hardness of Christmas blues need to hear.
Throughout the month of December we rejoice in the Christmas narrative, the Christmas miracle, and the Christmas gift. What a wonderful thing that God's plan of fullness, salvation, and light would come in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, born into and unto the world. Isaiah 9:6 tells of this perfect day, "For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Despite this season and reason to celebrate, one of the motifs of history that rings true is man's REJECTION of God. From the dawn of time to the very first Christmas to our present day God's message and gift has been rejected. In the Old Testament God sent His people prophets to declare His ways and offer His restoration, yet it fell on deaf ears. At the birth of Jesus we see that as the Wise Men follow the star there are others (King Herod) who are not as inclined to believe or delighted with the announcement, "It's a boy!" Romans 1:21 speaks to the sad condition of the human heart that rejects God, "For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."
In the above passage we see how the world rejected Jesus as Savior. That they would not believe the report that the Messiah had come. Many closed their doors to Joseph and Mary as they sought shelter in Bethlehem. As Jesus grew older and went out to do the Father's labor, many questioned His works and His identity, labeling and limiting His origin. And despite the unarguable miracles done by His hand, many hardened their hearts in such a way, that they missed out on true love, power, and life. Matthew 13:58 tells us, "And He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith."
In many ways the world has rejected the Good News and broadcast a brazen report from their mountain of pride and self that "God does not exist". Those who love Jesus and believe on Him are constantly being looked down upon. The media is saying God does not exist; the Intellectual is saying God does not exist; and even our own silence is trying to convince us that there is no God when you need Him most. Despite these denouncements I am here to happily and merrily proclaim that God does exist, that He is worth believing in, and there is a true joy in this season that nobody can rob from you! Even when the media sells their message, there are still news reports of a mother forgiving the drunk driver that killed her child. That kind of forgiveness and mercy can only come from heaven. Even when the intellectual hypothesizes, inside is a child crying to be set free from hurt and disappointment that is decades old. And when the silence in our midst gets louder and darker, many times that becomes the place for God to speak most clearly and peacefully to our circumstance.
This Christmas is a time to BELIEVE THE REPORT about Jesus. It is a time to experience the joy the Wise Men did when the star rested over the place Jesus dwelt; it is a time to experience the wonder that the shepherds did when they arrived at the place where Jesus was born; it is a time to experience the peace the Who's had when they sang with all their hearts, even though they were left empty-handed; and it is a time to experience the fullness that comes to all people who put their faith in Christ. Let's make December a focused celebration on Christ that keeps us smiling, singing, and believing in such a way that all the Grinches out in the world have a wake-up call and a heart change. That will take us from a Dr. Seuss masterpiece to a Father God miracle!