“If Christmas is just a nice legend, in a sense you are on your own. But if Christmas is true, then you can be saved by grace.” (Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas)
I still remember the Christmas lights in one of those neighborhoods growing up where everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – in the neighborhood went ALL OUT on the Christmas lights. There was only one house in the whole 100 house neighborhood that didn’t put up a single light in the yard. Yet on the roof was a simple lighted sign: “Hum Bug”. Clever. Cute.
In a sense, Christmas is for the Grinch in all of us.
Yeah, I’ll say it: “You’re a Grinch, I’m a Grinch; the whole lot of us are Grinches.”
The great German-American theologian, Dr. Seuss, wrote:
You're a monster, Mr. Grinch; Your heart's an empty hole
Your brain is full of spiders; You've got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch
Christmas basically says tells us: You are a Grinch but God loves you anyway. There was a reason the manger – God’s dramatic start to his rescue plan for the world – was necessary in the first place. I had garlic in my soul. And your brain was full of spiders. My heart had an empty hole.
Yet Christ in the manger – love in flesh – tells Grinches of all shapes and sizes that God still loves you anyway. Despite your Grinchyness.
“When you say, ‘Doctrine doesn’t matter; what matters is that you live a good life,’ that is a doctrine. It is called the doctrine of salvation by your works rather than by grace. It assumes that you are not so bad that you need a Savior, that you are not so weak that you can’t pull yourself together and live as you should. You are actually espousing a whole set of doctrines about the nature of God, humanity, and sin. And the message of Christmas is that they are all wrong.” (Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas)
Christmas is for the Grinch in all of us.
Thankful to be with you this Christmas season,
Pastor Jason Carter