Christmas is a busy season, no matter who you are or what you believe. If you celebrate the season you know it is a time of shopping, get togethers and family. Though many of these things are good and fun, they come with subsequent difficulties like traffic jams, overeating, overspending and the noise, noise, noise, noise! Imagine that last with the Grinch's voice in your head.
Last week I looked at the lesson of child-like faith that I learned from A Charlie Brown Christmas. This week I'd like to focus on another of my favorite Christmas shows, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Like the Charlie Brown Christmas, the Grinch has also become one of the most watched Christmas shows of all time. The show first aired in 1966, one year after A Charlie Brown Christmas.
While How the Grinch Stole Christmas appears to be just a show for children to watch, it holds ideas and beliefs that are much deeper than pure entertainment. There are several lessons I have learned from our friend the Grinch.
1. We All Suffer the Grinch Syndrome - I love Christmas, as I have stated before, but that doesn't mean I don't get stressed out and cranky. All of us can become a Grinch. Aren't we all guilty of being self focused? Don't we all desire to get our way, hoping that those who are annoying us or making us suffer will just go away? The Grinch was certainly self centered. The only thing he wanted was to be left alone and to not have to deal with the noise the Whos down in Whoville created on Christmas morning. How easy is it for any of us to give up our own desires for the sake of someone else? Or are we just as capable of a treachery similar to our green friend?
2. Things are not Meant to Control Us - The Whos in Whoville, knew how to celebrate Christmas. They loved the parties, the gifts and the food. They decorated every inch of every surface, gave gifts that moved and made noise and dined together at a table full of food that seemed as long as a football field, BUT those things were to them just that, things. When the Grinch had taken every decoration away and every crumb of food was gone, the Whos still celebrated Christmas. They woke up that Christmas morning and gathered together in the center of town and sang. They knew that even though their things were gone, Christmas was not. It still came. Though I know that Christmas is here because of Christ, I love the things associated with Christmas...the lights, the cookies, the giving and the getting. Would I be just as happy as the Whos if my idea of Christmas did not happen? It is a good question we all should ask ourselves.
3. No one is Beyond the Redeeming Power of Christ - If you listen to the song You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch sung by Thurl Ravenscroft you get the distinct impression that the Grinch is really one bad dude. He's mean, he's dirty, he's greasy, he's foul, he's just plain bad. I have always found myself wondering, what happened to that poor green guy to turn him into such a foul mess? Maybe he was a victim of child abuse. Maybe he was bullied. Whatever the case, the Grinch wasn't good....or so we thought.
True redemption and change can be found in the person of Jesus Christ. The very reason we have Christmas is because of Christ. The Grinch realized the true meaning of Christmas wasn't about things. The true meaning of Christmas has to do with the embodiment of the Spirit of God in the baby called Jesus. That is why the Whos could still celebrate without all of the things. That is why we can celebrate even when life is hard!
Maybe you have learned something from the Grinch! I would love to hear your comments. Next week stay tuned for more lessons learned from another of my favorite Christmas movies. Until then have a great week and remember to keep in mind these questions: Am I being grinchy? Am I letting things control me? And am I judging whether or not another person is beyond God's redeeming work?
Have a great day!