Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Confessions of a Christmas Grinch

When the Lord redeemed me in 1982, I remember being like a child in a toy store - I was so joyful to be surrounded by the abundance of His grace and the riches of His truth that I realized that there weren’t enough waking hours in a day to take it all in. I would exhaust myself on a daily basis by digging into the treasuries of His word, fellowshipping with His people and praying for continued grace to grow in Him (I’m still like that kid in the toy store - but at my present age, I now go to bed a wee bit earlier). Now there is one thing that I did in my spiritual infancy that would require a slight adjustment in later years - and that has to do with the Christmas holidays. You see, when I was first saved I cynically became like...

...the Grinch who stole Christmas...only without the green skin...



The Grinch hated Christmas!


The whole Christmas season!

Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.

It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were to tight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all

May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

But,

Whatever the reason,

His heart or his shoes,

He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,

Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown

At the warm lighted windows below in their town.

For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath

Was busy now, hanging a mistleoe wreath.


Well, actually, I didn’t hate anyone who celebrated Christmas - but my zeal for a pure devotion to Christ had become imbalanced and without good wisdom...and thus:


Every vestige of Christmas I removed from my presence


And refused to engage in the sharing of presents (alright, now I’m rhyming - enough of this already)...


Over time, I began to realize that many of the ancient roots of Christmas (which are primarily pagan) are almost entirely unknown to most people. For example, I have not had anyone compliment us on our “Druid Tree” yet. Besides this, I began to realize that the Christmas season often affords many opportunities to share the Gospel. In other words, it is a wonderful opportunity to speak to others about the Christ of “Christmas” - no matter what the world does with the holiday. I am often reminded that it is this time of year that affords the unique opportunity of standing on someone’s porch and singing Christ-centered hymns - I.e., caroling. In fact, several weeks ago we were invited to come to one of our local (public) libraries in order to sing Christmas hymns. Some folks from church joined with us, and we all had an opportunity to share the Gospel. One of the hymns that we sang was - “What Child is This?” Verse two of this hymn provided a wonderful opportunity:



Why lies He in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding


Good Christian fear; for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.


Nails, spear, shall pierce him through; the cross be borne for me, for you


hail, hail the Word made flesh, the babe, the son of Mary.


Verse two provided a blessed opportunity to present a very simple Gospel message - the verse itself is a roadmap for the Gospel indeed. By God’s grace events like these have been very fruitful in terms getting the seed of God’s word out. Through opportunities like these, I have come to learn that it is possible to enjoy Christmas, and to even use the holiday as an opportunity to share Christ with others...


But this would not have been...


...had I remained on the top of Mount Crumpit...


proudly determined to take Christmas and dump it.... (this post really needs to end soon)...


My exhortation to all is that we should seek every legitimate opportunity to communicate Christ to others, telling them about the hope that lies within us - even if such opportunities are to be found during a holiday season that most in the world celebrate, but very few understand. That is our mission and calling - to bring Christ to this lost and dying world.


P.S. As for our Christmas tree (or as some of you might think of it - Druid Tree) - we’ve reformed the thing - be sure to have a look.