If the Grinch Couldn’t Steal Christmas
Pastor Drew Goodson - December 7, 2020
I have always loved Dr. Suess (who was a Lutheran, by the way) and his tale of the Grinch. His envy of the Whos down in Whoville led him to try and steal Christmas by taking away the shiniest parts of the celebration. But the critical vestiges remained. Hopeful voices. Hearts worshiping. Little Whos united together in prayer. The Grinch with his heart “two sizes two small” is won over by their love.
If the Grinch couldn’t steal Christmas…neither can Covid19.
I miss seeing all of you very much. I think this is going to hit me the hardest on Christmas Eve. What I’ll particularly miss is gathering together on the sacred night of our Savior’s Nativity, inside the warm church, as we sing “O Come, Let Us Adore Him!” and “Silent Night.”
While the pageantry of Christmas Eve is something uniquely beautiful, we know that we’ll have to wait until future years to have that experience together again.
So maybe this is a good year to feel comforted by the fact that the very first Christmas happened in an obscure corner of a little town. It was quiet and calm, especially given the astonishing nature of what was happening on that starry night. The eternal and divine Logos, the Word of God, a mystery beyond human understanding, assumed our human nature. By taking on our human nature, Jesus united it with God. By dying on the cross, Jesus defeated sin. By rising, Jesus defeated death. Covid19 cannot steal any of this. It is ours. A pure gift.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all” (Titus 2:11). Pastor Tim Keller points out that Christmas is not good advice, for advice tells us what we should do. Christmas is good news, telling us what has already been done.
While most of us may worship from our homes this year, it may be that God is giving us another opportunity in 2020 to slow down and to return to the actual circumstances of our Savior’s birth. Christ entered the world in a way that caused very few people to notice at first. He arrived in the simple den of livestock. God speaks to us through the circumstances of Christ’s birth, reminding us that the way of the Cross is one of self-emptying service. Jesus is born for us.
What if this Christmas we were to use any extra time we have from there being fewer Christmas parties and activities, to also serve? To call friends who need encouragement, or text someone a word of hope, or give to a family who is hurting. These practices are great ways to translate the Christmas season, and the Advent season, into our daily lives. Like Mary, we can also be those who bear Christ into the world.
Wherever you’ll be worshiping Jesus this Christmas… God is with you. I am praying for you. Let every heart prepare him room!