What the Grinch Couldn’t Steal

lights-1088141_640Think 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.
Foreign rule.
Governors and leaders appointed by callous politicians and kings.
High taxes.
Compromise.
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, than 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 Obama 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.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'”. Luke 2:10


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5 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Beautifully said. And I love the verse–I can just imagine being there–seeing that and hearing those words. And–thanks for the reminder!

  2. “. . 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.”

    Love this and have clung to this very truth in the midst of a hard week of death and grief.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Our illustrious governor decided not to light the green tree at the state house this year. He didn’t like the controversy last year over whether to call it a Christmas tree or a Holiday tree. But now he has changed his mind and will participate in the lighting of the tree. It really doesn’t matter what he does or what he calls the tree–Christ will be in the midst of all Christian hearts and minds, the lights will remind us of the light that drew the attention of the shepherds when the angel appeared, and the light that led the way for the wise men. No one can take Christmas away from us–God gave it to us. Praise be that He is still in control. MOMMA