The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

“Your a mean one, Mr. Grinch.”  Can you hear the tune in your head?  One of my favorite holiday films is the Dr. Seuss classic The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  It is the hilarious tale of a green, hairy, bitter outcast determined to rob Whoville of Christmas joy.  Reminds me of another story all too familiar.

Christmas has become controversial in our country to say the least.  Just yesterday I read an e-mail from our local school district reminding me that my kids were allowed to say Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Eid, depending on their religious persuasion.  Why would they need to send an e-mail giving my kids permission to say Merry Christmas?  Only because in the past few years there has been much controversy over the issue in government run institutions. But the issue is much deeper than my local school district.

Even now I am wondering how my Jewish friends who read this blog or my muslim neighbors who google my name will take what I am getting ready to write in love.  Enter the Grinch who stole Christmas.

The Grinch is an outcast, not despised by Whoville, but thrown out of Heaven.  He is “a mean one” but we don’t call him the Grinch.  Instead we use names like Satan, Lucifer, or the Devil.  He hates Christmas because he hates Jesus.  The crafty snake has entered American culture and waged war on Christmas.  Using strategies like humanism, pluralism, and political correctness, he has caused even Christians to question whether or not it is OK to offer a simple “Merry Christmas.”  Drive around.  Where have all the nativity scenes gone that once were seen at least in one yard on every street in the neighborhood?

Weapons like Capitalism, Materialism, and Pluralistic (All religions equally true) Christmas parties have been effective tools against a culture once embracing Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  Do I sound intolerant?  I am even questioning myself as I write.  Christmas at some level causes controversy in my own heart.  It would however be unloving both to God and to people if I let my love of my Jewish or Islamic friends quiet my understanding and celebration of Christmas.  I am not talking about the lights and the tree and jolly old Saint Nick.  Those things don’t really cause controversy.  But this does.

The Jewish Prophet Isaiah prophesied the coming of a Child who would be the Messiah everyone was waiting for.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulders and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6

700+ years later Jesus is born in Bethlehem to a virgin Mother fulfilling all of the Hebraic prophetic writings concerning the Messiah.  33 years later Jesus was crucified, and 3 days after that he rose from the dead, defeating sin and death and crushing the plans of Satan and paying the price for my sin and anyone else who would confess Jesus Christ is Lord.

Today, Satan still hates that truth.  He does whatever he can to hide, convolute, change or deconstruct the story.  He is the Grinch who stole Christmas…or at least is trying.  He will not succeed.

The battle is over, Jesus is Messiah, and in the end every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  God sent His son Jesus, a part of Himself, in a way that we could understand so that we might leave our sin and return to the Father God who adores us.  Every year at Christmas we are reminded of this, the only way to God according to the Jewish author and apostle, John.  So this year Celebrate the incarnation.  Jesus is Immanuel, “God With Us.”  What a gift! Merry Christmas.  I love you no matter who you are.

  One thought on “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

  1. Cynthia Gualy
    December 15, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Brian, thanx for your article. I have struggled with what to do and have done all I can to ‘save Christmas’ in the school. The way I see it, as long as Christmas is our national holiday, publicly funded institutions, like public schools, should be obliged to teach about it and even celebrated it the same way they would MLK day. This is the United States. I was in India, Bankok and Kuala Lumpur last year around Thanksgiving time. In all three places, Hindu, Budhist and muslem, the Christmas trees went up and they didn’t call them by any other name. I came back home and it was the first year our school chose not to put up a tree. This is still a Christian Nation and our history is rich with faith. Why should we let our National holidays be stripped down of their original meaning. Would we say that teachers cannot say ‘Martin Luther” on his day? Would we have purple napkins at a 4th of July party? Christmas should not be given special treatment; just equal treatment.

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  2. Kirk
    December 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    You too brother. See ya sometime.

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  3. Kirk
    December 12, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Most folks of any religious persuasion or even no persuasion at all enjoy a cheerful “Merry Christmas”. The best man in my wedding is Jewish and non-religious and always says Merry Christmas when we talk this time of year. He knows I celebrate the birth of Christ and not the birth of Santa Claus but also knows that I choose to honor our relationship instead of our differences. What I have grown increasingly weary of is the bent of the highly committed religious types to force a Jesus centered Christmas in the face of folks with different faith traditions. For some it seems not enough to say Merry Christmas with a smile and live a life that would emulate Christ’s time on the planet, but instead to feel compelled to denigrate anyone else who doesn’t believe the same as hey do. It seems the Jesus whose birth we celebrate never did that. The only ones whose face he ever got in were the highly committed religious types of his day that were willing to kill someone who disagreed with their understand of God. I’m not saying is that it’s all the same and that all roads lead to the same place. If I could borrow a line from the novel “The Shack”, the Jesus character, when asked if all roads lead to him says “no Mack, most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I am saying that I will travel down any road to get to you.” I love that.

    Merry Christmas

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    • December 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

      So I said Merry Christmas to someone the other day and got verbally accosted. Made me think about what is so controversial about a simple Merry Christmas. Certainly Jesus is the only way to God or the Bible is a farse. But I agree, God will walk down the road a hindu, or a Jew, or an Atheist or whatever can understand to introduce Himself simply because He loves His created. Merry Christmas Kirk. Love you guys.

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  4. December 12, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    God bless you Brian! I made our family CHRISTmas video with the same thought in mind. It STILL IS about the CROSS! And don’t let that Grinch take that away!

    Merry CHRISTmas!

    Love,

    Luke Chong

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