Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Real Grinch Tried To Steal Christmas...But God...

"Every Who down in Who-Ville liked Christmas a lot... But The Grinch,
Who lived just north of Who-ville, Did NOT! "

The Grinch's story explains how much the Grinch hated Christmas, so much so, that he wanted it to disappear. In fact, he wanted to stop it from coming altogether.

So he devised an evil plan and carried it out, stealing all the presents, decorations and even the baked ham.

He thought that stealing the things they possessed, would also steal the emotions they felt - but he was wrong. While he was basking in the aftermath of his act, and standing amongst all the presents he had stolen, he heard something faint in the distance.

The Grinch heard the sweet sounds of singing permeating the air, all the way up from the valley of Whoville. He thought he had won - but he soon realized that he was wrong about that too.

In the same way, Satan wanted Christmas stopped too. However, just as the Grinch realized that his sinister plan had failed, Satan heard the news about Jesus. He tried and tried to steal Christmas away, but all his attempts fell short.

First attempt: In biblical times, adulterers, especially women who were pregnant out of wedlock, were to be stoned. So the first attempt of Satan to prevent the birth of Jesus, was done through rumors in the community of Mary and Joseph.

As we read in the Christmas story, Joseph struggled with worry about whether or not Mary had been unfaithful to him. He wondered if he should allow her to be punished, and if he should abandon her to protect his own reputation.

But God sent an angel to visit him and tell Joseph of His holy plan.

If Joseph had believed the rumors instead of focusing on his faith, he could have fallen prey to Satans attempts to steal Christ-mas, before it ever started (Matthew 1:18-25). Josephs heart was set on obeying and trusting in God, even when things looked bleak.

Second attempt: Satan tried to prevent Jesus from having a safe haven for birth. There was no room in the inn in Bethlehem. No shelter from the cold. No protection from the wild.

But God provided a stable for them, which provided warmth, shelter and fluffy hay for the manger.

Third attempt: A couple years later, Satan (the grinch) tried to use Herod to steal Christ-mas, by prompting him to kill all boy toddlers who might be a threat to his authority.

But God told Joseph to leave the city, and provided an escape for them, which allowed Christ to grow into a strong young man who would eventually calm the storm with His hand, and save generations and generations of people.

There were many other failed grinch attempts, in fact, too many to speak of.

All throughout the life of Jesus, Satan tried to steal Christ-mas. He tempted Him, tormented Him, turned people against Him. He tried every trick in the book to pull off the ultimate heist, but failed time and time again.

But God never failed.

Even for three days, after Jesus was crucified and buried, Satan thought he had finally won the battle. He probably had an evil smirk on his face, as he twisted his pointed fingers together in delight.

But God called Jesus from the grave on the third day, restored Him to life, and set Him at His right hand side in the heavens.

No matter how hard he tried, Satan the grinch could not steal Christ-mas! God always won, and He still does today.

Unfortunately, the grinch is still at his thievery, and he is not giving up.

He could not stop Christ-mas from coming, so now his mission is to do everything possible to steal Christmas from our hearts, and to prevent people who do not know Jesus from ever believing in Him.

He tempts people with pleasure and sin. He turns families against each other. He prods into holding onto unforgiveness, selfishness, and worldly pleasures. He revels in our desires for more, and our lives of busyness and chaos that are too full for church and prayer. He fills our heads with doubts and tries to confuse us with science and theology and logic.

He has worked diligently for thousands of years to take Christ out of Christmas, and in some ways, he has experienced some success. He stole Christ from our governments, schools and communities. He stole Christ from our publications and our laws.

But the real grinch does not merely want to steal Christmas from our way of life, he wants to steal Christ from our hearts.

But God calls us to trust Him and not to worry.

The battle is already won. Unless we agree, Satan cannot steal Christ from our hearts, or Christ from our Christmas.

That gift is ours to keep.

The "something more" that we have, can never be taken away.

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