Summary: Christmas should be a season filled with joy but many things steal that joy from us
What is Stealing your Joy?
December 11, 2011
The Story of the Grinch: One of my favorite holiday shows is the cartoon classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The story revolves around an old, crusty, nasty, absolutely rotten character, the Grinch and how he hates Christmas. Specifically he hates the celebrations of the neighboring town of Whoville. So in typical Grinch fashion he devises a scheme to go into Whoville and steal Christmas right from under them. The Grinch then plans to disguise himself as Santa and go down to Whoville to steal all of their trimmings, toys and even their holiday roast beast. The Grinch follows his plan exactly and he goes into Whoville and steals every last trimming, tree, toy and roast beast. The Grinch piles everything on his sleigh and away he goes up to the top of Mount Crumpet to listen to the sound of crying in Whoville. As he listens for the Who’s to cry boo-hoo, he is surprised to hear the sound of their annual Christmas song rise above the hills from Whoville. He grabs his dog Max and says; “It came. Christmas came. It came without boxes. It came without presents or tags.” It is in this moment that the Grinch realizes that there must be something more to Christmas. The Grinch has a change of heart; he then saves the sleigh of stuff and returns to Whoville.
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What are some of the things that rob us of joy?
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' " 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. Matthew 2:1-11
Loss of proper attitude - Herod becomes disturbed (1-3)
Herod had a heart problem that first Christmas. His heart was filled with selfishness and sin. The Magi arrive in Jerusalem on a search for the one born King of the Jews. The questions echoed through the streets and reaches Herod. Where is he? The moment that Herod hears the news of a royal birth, he is immediately threatened.
Herod would tolerate no potential threat to the base of his personal power and there were no lengths beyond his ego mania. Herod’s life was consumed with the gain of more power. There was nothing that Herod would not do to grow in power. He was known for arranged marriages and arranged murders to maintain his power.
Herod would squash any threat he deemed could harm his position. At one point Herod had the entire Sanhedrin assassinated because he felt they were challenging his authority to much. There was no length that he would not go to in protecting his power. Herod was so bloodthirsty that he murdered one of his wives and two of his sons to retain his position. Herod was a control freak to the point of sheer madness.
Herod is disturbed which means to be stirred up to the point of being totally unsettled. Notice that not only is Herod disturbed but all of Jerusalem is disturbed as well. The people of Jerusalem have seen Herod at his worst and know to be afraid.
There are days when life seems out of control and absorbed by Christmas craziness. Life is often beyond our ability to control. The problem is that we often want to be in complete control of everything. Trying to control everything in life will make you miserable and is not biblical. God desires to have the control of your life but can only do so when you surrender control. It is impossible for God to be the leader of your life, if you are constantly fighting Him for control.