Summary: The Grinch has an extremely relevant message that is important to remember about the gospel as well as Christmas. Let’s examine this Christmas story in light of the real Christmas story.
The Gospel According to… The Grinch
December 14, 2008
The gospel according to… the Grinch. Adapted from Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” or what might be a better title, “How the Grinch Tried to Steal Christmas.”
The Grinch hates Christmas and he hates the Whos and their celebration of Christmas. He has the toys and noise and roast beasts and the feasts. He hates the gifts and most of all the singing. He longs to hear them suffer probably as he suffers from his isolation.
So the Grinch decides to steal Christmas and in doing so keep it from coming. He is convinced that if he takes away the Christmas stuff then everyone will be upset and they will cry and wail and there certainly will not by any Christmas celebration this year. So he takes the Christmas stuff. What stuff did he take?
For the Grinch and this is especially relevant to our culture, the Grinch thinks Christmas is about the material things: gifts, presents, food, decorations, parties, etc. So he steals it all but when the Whos wake up, they are upset. They are blaming the banks or the GM or President Bush or OPEC. They are blaming the neighbor or blaming the father who didn’t want to spend the money for the state-of-the-art alarm system. They blame the police for not keeping them safe. But they didn’t blame anyone.
In fact, they woke up with the same amount of joy that they had always had. They sang because Christmas wasn’t about the decorations, or the gifts, or the food. They were thankful and they sang.
The Grinch didn’t realize that Christmas can’t be bought. Christmas can’t be sold. It is much more than that. Christmas isn’t about materialism or consumerism. It isn’t about shopping.
A man shared with his friends that he and his wife were going through the empty-nest syndrome. He said the worst part about it was that once the children leave some wives treat their husbands like children.
He said, "When we go to the grocery store and I reach for cereal, she slaps my hand and says, ’We don’t need that this week.’ Then I reach for the ice cream, and she slaps my hand, saying, ’We don’t need that this week.’ I reach for the potato chips, and again she slaps my hand and says, ’We don’t need that this week.’ I finally get so frustrated I hop out of the basket and go to the car!"
So Christmas isn’t about stuff you can buy. Dr. Seuss got that right. And that is extremely good news especially for the poor and especially during these tough financial times.
Maybe we sort of buy into the whole consumer mentality. We all know the money can’t buy you happiness but it sure helps. Money buys us the toys and the other things that we enjoy. And when we don’t have money. It makes things very stressful. I think that if the Grinch can remind us of anything, it is the idea that we need to examine what we place our hope in. What do we base our happiness on?
In our study group, it was mentioned that if someone broke in and stole all the Christmas gifts not to mention the decorations and Christmas ham, then most of us would have a pretty miserable Christmas. Very few of us would get up and see the empty house and walk outside and start singing the praises of God. Let me correct that… none of us would do that. We would be in shock. How could this happen? Then we’d call the police and investigate if any clues were left and how they got in and try to determine what all was missing. But we wouldn’t immediately praise God.
However, I believe that those of us who are truly seeking to follow Jesus might eventually get around to it. We might thank God that no one was hurt. We might even pray for those who stole our Christmas.
But then think about others who have no basis in grace, mercy, love, and peace. There would be very few filled with Christmas joy if everything was stolen from their homes.
In fact, there are many people out there who are really struggling. Some of them may even be brothers and sisters in Christ. They are going to lose their home. They don’t have many gifts. Santa never really came this year.
But is that what Christmas is really about? And I would say this, it is not about simply being filled with joy and singing and family and relationships as the Whos seem to think Christmas is about. In fact Christmas is about a person: Jesus. It is about the one who was born as an outcast. His mother and father disowned by their families and their community. They were cast out and no one showed mercy on them except a low-life tavern owner (where no good self-respecting, righteous [tsadiqs] would ever consider staying) who showed some measure of compassion on a pregnant young girl and allowed them to stay in his cave where some livestock were kept.