Like many of you, my wife and I have been celebrating the Christmas season by watching those cheesy holiday specials on TV like Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, and, of course, the Grinch. I’ve noticed something this year, however, that I guess I hadn’t put much thought into in previous years. The major theme on all these specials can be summed up as follows: Christmas is all about the goodness of the human heart. It seems a commendable theme, doesn’t it? And yet it strikes me as one totally contrary to Christian understanding of Christmas
The Grinch is a prime example (even while it is not a direct human example). You know the story: Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot. But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville did not! So after the Grinch steals Christmas he waits to hear all the Whos crying. To his surprise he finds that the Whos aren’t crying, they’re singing and holding hands and rejoicing. The fact is that the Grinch didn’t stop Christmas from coming. It came just the same. In fact, it came without packages, boxes or bags! And as it dawns on the Grinch that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, his heart grows three sizes and he returns all the goodies to Whoville. It’s a marvelous and charming story (and with the voice of Boris Karloff, a treat for the ears). But it does represent the opposite of Christian sentiment during this season.
Contrary to believing in the goodness of the human heart, Christians believe that Christmas is the celebration of that external salvation which all men need because of the wickedness of the human heart. Christmas is about the savior being born to save us all from “Satan’s power” which runs deep in every soul, and makes him subject to God’s judgment.
These specials are right in that they remind us that Christmas doesn’t come frome store (of course this reminder comes in between commercials for Christmas gifts), but they fail to remind us that Christmas isn’t about how great our love is, but in reality how great God’s love is.
I know it’s dangerous to suggest that the Grinch stole Christmas from Christians, but if he has stolen it, then let me urge Christians to steal it back in the name of Jesus!