Summary: 2 of 4 on Christmas series. This message is about King Herod.
A Grinch Who Really Tried to Steal Christmas
December 17, 200
“How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Every Who down in Who-ville liked a 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 his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes
He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath
Was busy now, hanging a mistletoe wreath.
“And they’re hanging their stockings!” he snarled with a sneer
“Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!”
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming
“I MUST find some way to stop Christmas coming!”
Christmas has a Grinchy Effect on Some People
Hmmm… it seems like a Christmas has always had that kind of effect on some people. Some are in classical literature – like Ebenezer Scrooge. Some in children’s books – like our familiar friend the Grinch.
In our times Scrooge and the Grinch are often represented by groups like the ACLU who have threatened people with lawsuits if there’s even a mention of Christ in the season of Christmas.
Not too long ago, Broward County (Florida) told the Calvary Chapel there that they could not include the words: “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” in their Christmas display. This was on their own property!
So the church filed a suit in the U.S. District Court claiming they had the right to display the words.
Judge William Zloch agreed with their “free speech” argument and allowed them to keep the words in their display as long as they included the words, “Calvary Chapel says,” before the words “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” (report from Yahoo.com 11/ 21/ 03)
Even though 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, and even though Christianity is the largest religious group in the nation, “Jesus” has been repeatedly forced into the closet during this season. So much so that the very word “Christmas” has been removed from the season and replaced by the term “Happy Holidays”
Which is ironic because the root mean of “holiday” is “Holy Day”! Pretty cool, huh! Even when those who are anti-Christmas say Happy Holidays they are really using recognizing Dec 25 as a Holy day!
Back in 1991, humorist Dave Barry poked fun at all of this when he wrote:
To avoid offending anybody, the school dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son’s school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly non memorable songs such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Frosty the Snowman” and--this is a real song--”Suzy Snowflake,” all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami. A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology.
There’s something about the story of the birth of Christ that creates animosity
James Martin The Upper Room
On a trip to the Holy Land, I bought a nativity set for my Sunday School. Carved out of olive wood in Bethlehem itself, the crèche had all the traditional figures – sheep and oxen, wise men and shepherds. Mary and Joseph and, of course, the baby Jesus.
For the return trip, security at Tel Aviv airport was very strict. I remember thinking they would not trouble to examine my nativity set; it was obviously innocent. But they did. Each figure was carefully scrutinized and even taken away for x-ray examination.
“You see,” said the security officer, “we must make sure there is nothing explosive in them.”
There is something EXPLOSIVE in the story of Jesus. And nowhere is that explosiveness more obvious than in the story of Herod.
King Herod was a Great King and the first “Grinch”
• Doubled the size of the Temple
• Built numerous palaces and fortifications
• Kept the area of Palestine at a relative peace with its neighbors
• When a famine had devastated Israel – he purchased food for his starving people with money from his own treasury.
• Killed every baby boy child in Bethlehem
King Herod was King of the land of Israel in the day when Jesus was born. But he wasn’t King by right of birth, for he wasn’t an Israelite, he was an Edomite. He was ruler of the land only because Rome had given him that throne.