What the Grinch Cannot Steal

Think you live in tough times?
Consider Bethlehem in ancient times:
Roman occupation.
Caesars who would be worshiped as gods.
Brutal oppressors ruling the last in a succession of oppressive regimes.
Life is cheap.
Bread is expensive.
Gold and silver talk.
Compassion walks.
Justice is a pipe-dream.
Freedom is something that other people have.
The troubles of two little people, a carpenter and his pregnant wife,
don’t amount to a hill of beans in Bethlehem where the rooms are full with out-of-towners and
everyone is just trying to get by.
This was the setting of the first Christmas.
Jesus didn’t enter into a post-card or a snow-globe.
He wasn’t born in Mayberry, RFD, in the fifties to a dad with a good job and a stay-at-home mom.
Jesus arrived in hardscrabble times when the average Joseph was gasping for air,
feeling hopeless against the odds of ever moving past the notion of just surviving the day and getting bread on the table,
praying that some of his children would survive to adulthood.
Mary’s were a dime a dozen. Every other girl in town was named Mary because the name means “bitter.”
Imagine feeling so full of bitterness it’s the name you bestow on your child.
Imagine a nation full of people whose lives give birth to bitterness.
This was the life of the everyday Jew that first Christmas,
but one glimpse of the newborn Messiah breathed hope into deflated souls.
Our oppressors go by different names now.
Debt. War. Consumerism. Greed. Commercialism. Conspiracies. Cover-ups. Unemployment.
Political correctness and religious intolerance raise their voices in the marketplace as loud as any street vendor and
bully the lambs of God out of sight for fear of offending the idols who rule the public square.
And many who follow Jesus butter their bread with bitter words and look over their shoulders at other
times that seemed more precious and true.
But I would propose that if the birth of Jesus could break into ancient Israel
and cause shepherds to rejoice and carpenters to dream dreams,
then the people who know Him as the Risen King have no reason to be anything but joyful and free
no matter what the rulers of the day call pine trees covered with lights or
how we’re greeted at WalMart by cashiers just trying to put bread on their own tables.
The Grinch could not steal Christmas and neither can the president nor any other man or power that walks the earth.
The prince of the air, the fiery dragon, rages and roars as if his time were not coming to a close,
as if he had the power to touch what really matters,
but he is destined for destruction and he will watch as the men and women he seeks to destroy are
 redeemed and raised to everlasting life
because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son . . .
Choose courage this season. Choose joy, loved ones.
Choose contentment over complaints and service to others over fear.
Choose confidence and hope over nostalgia for days past,
for the days to come are what we live for –
not the days on earth
but the days without end that pave our future like a stairway to heaven.

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1 Comment

    The Conversation

  1. Anonymous says:

    I loved your blog. And I know I get weighted down with problems sometimes and need to recognize more quickly when to put them aside and just dance–as the Charlie Brown characters just dance. If I am a believer my soul should always be filled with joy. And inside I can just dance. I won’t do it noticeable because someone would try to commit me! But my soul can rejoice in the knowledge of His love and forgiveness! MOMMA