Yes, Virginia, some people find Christmas irritating

Do you know an Ebenezer Scrooge? They’re not just fictional characters. Ebenezers walk among us every day.

Yes, Virginia, some people find Christmas irritating, aggravating, and even loathsome. In the movies, these people end up embracing the joy of the season, melting at the special gesture of a loved one, a meaningful gift, or a carol sung by a pure-hearted child.

In real life, Ebenezers usually maintain their Grinch-like posture, embrace their inner Scrooge, and suck the joy of the season from those around them, as well. This, loved ones, is as traditional as a crèche, for the first “Bah humbug!” was muttered long ago in a language that is still spoken by descendants of the original Christmas rebel.

You see, not everyone greets the coming of a new king with open arms. Especially not the current king sitting precariously on the throne, imagining the usurper has arrived to upstage him.

When wisemen traveled from the east in search of the new king predicted by the arrangement of the constellations, they thoughtfully checked in with the sitting king of the land, King Herod. Naively thinking he would share their joy and wonder, they informed him that a new king had been born and they had traveled far to worship at his feet.

Herod, deft at deception and political prowess, played along with the magi, pretending to agree with their delight at the newcomer who threatened his throne.

“Please, do let me know when you find him!” Herod asks them, his voice a caramel river of charm. “I will follow to where you are and adore the young lad myself. I have something special I would like him to have.”

Yeah, like a knife to the chest.

The magi, being wise men, did smarten up and after they found Jesus, they kept mum about the precise address of his crib and headed home by an alternate route they worked out on an ancient version of MapQuest.

The frustrated king, reigning in a time long before GPS, felt he had no other choice but to order a mass extermination of all male children under the age of two. That’s right. This is not a heartwarming story.

This is chubby baby boys warm and swaddled at their mothers’ breasts one moment – sliced in two by the glinting edges of Roman swords and daggers the next. Mothers and fathers left reeling and confused, kneeling and weeping in the cobbled streets of Jerusalem, without recourse under the reign of a merciless tyrant worried that an infant might steal some of his glory.

Now, while King Herod was an early adopter of the “Bah Humbug!” approach to Christmas, he was not the originator. We must travel much farther back in time to locate that old snake.

Isaiah 14:12-15 says: “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,  to the depths of the pit.”

There was once a created being who thought he could be God. He was ambitious for the throne. He was wise, clever, beautiful and talented, but he aspired to a height that belongs to only One.

When he was cast out of heaven for his rebellion, along with those who supported him, he raged against the machine. When the Father created a new race, humanity, the evil one immediately plotted to spoil them and seat himself on the throne of their hearts. He gloried in himself when his original deception worked, and they were cast out of paradise.

Imagine his anger, then, when the Father set into motion a plan to redeem humanity!

Where was the plan for his redemption? He has been condemned. But now, this puny race, this people so easily deceived and infected with the blood of rebellion, now these humans are to be redeemed with the perfect blood of the Only Son of the Father!??

When this realization set in, that is when the original “Bah Humbug!” echoed through the cosmos as Satan spit and cursed and railed against the audacity of grace bestowed upon undeserving humans.

The evil one sees the precious, inestimable value of redemption bestowed through faith in Jesus Christ – why don’t we?

And still, there are those who would rather sit upon the throne of their own measly lives and reign in the moment, then to allow this true king to take His seat and submit to His rule in their lives and live forever.

One day, we will hear the last “Bah humbug!” Until then, there will be suffering, torment, and more bloodshed from more innocents. Those who refuse to choose Jesus wish to snuff the lights that shine from within those who do so their deeds can linger longer in the darkness.

The final “Bah humbug!” will not be a cry of triumph but a pitiful gasp as the originator finally answers for the spilled blood of those babies and the babies who came after them whose innocence was rent in two by men who were neither wise nor seeking anything other than their own glory.

King Herod lives on and his heart will not melt at the pure song of a child. Only Jesus and the way of the cross has the power to transform Herod and Scrooge.

Evil clings to this world and it will have its way in many dark places – even on Christmas day. But it will not have its way forever, loved ones.

Remember, in this darkest winter season, we do not display Christmas lights, we ARE Christmas lights. Let your light shine from this season into the next until He comes again!

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7 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Tammy says:

    Wow Lori-this latest post I read is like an arrow straight into my heart-in a good way! Thank you.

  2. Virginia Sanders says:

    Lori, this is a wonderful interpretation of the Christmas story, thank you.

    I am traveling to Israel for Christmas with my family in Beersheba, 7 family members and the dear congregation of believers there. May I share this with them?

    And may the joy of the Savior be yours this Christmas, new delights of His grace the coming year.

    Yes, I am Virginia!

  3. Karen Smith says:

    WOW…powerful post from the impact of the original Bah Humbug to our challenge to BE Christmas lights. Thank you!

  4. Melanie Gibson says:

    For a lot of people the holiday season can be something to try to endure, with the ceaseless bombardment of perfect family ideals and gift advertisements so you can buy your love instead of showing it. The thing that helps the most is remembering what Christmas is really about – the birth of Christ, and focusing on that over all the shiny objects and bright lights. It’s not a bad thing to feel some joy when you see all the traditional decorations, just remind yourself what the real meaning of it all is.

  5. Sherry Carter says:

    BE Christmas lights. What a wonderful thought. Too often, I let the bah-humbuggers bring me down. I need to shine on -I never know when a naysayer might respond to Jesus’s light in me.

  6. Lori Hatcher says:

    Well said and timely. What a beautiful explanation of the source of our travail and of our triumph. Nicely done, friend.