At this festive time of year it is hard to turn on the TV without catching the glimpse of a holiday movie or wintery scene. Every channel takes advantage of the holidays to play non-stop Christmas specials. The 25 days till Christmas is counted down with great anticipation on every other channel. Radio stations have been playing carols since before Thanksgiving. You can't escape the celebration of this season.
Last night one of the modern day classic Christmas movies was playing on repeat on ABC Family. "The Grinch that Stole Christmas" came to life thanks to Jim Carrey in 2000 but has already been thrown into classic status. Nearly everyone watches it at least once during the month of December. And I challenge you to find a soul on earth who doesn't have a sweet spot for little Cindy Lou Who. She is endearing, the embodiment of the kindness.
Little Cindy Lou Who takes her kind spirit a little too far for the liking of the rest of the citizens of Whoville. In their town Christmas is the most exciting time of year. They deck the halls from top to bottom and turn their lives upside down to make sure every bow is tied just right and ever inch of space is covered in decoration. To top it off, they even have an annual Whoville Holiday Cheermeister that is chosen by nomination. You know how the story goes. The mayor asks for nominations in the assembly of the gathered town and little Cindy pipes up with a nomination that is enough to send her parents into a state of shock: the Grinch.
The Grinch: the least cheery being to every set foot in Whoville; the green isolated scrooge who lives by himself in a cave on a hill and taunts the citizens below; the one person in Whoville who despises Christmas and every bit of celebration that goes along with it.
Yet, Cindy wants to make him the cheermeister. Talk about shock and awe.
To make a very long story (a 104 minute story to be exact) short, the Grinch's hard heart is softened and his love of Christmas and his love for his fellow Whoville citizens, is restored. His heart grew, as the story goes.
The Grinch didn't become a changed man because of boxes and bows. All the years of seeing the town below decked out in red and green never budged his hard heart. What changed him was the love of a girl who saw past his flaws and grumpy demeanor. She didn't see him for the scrooge he was to the rest of the world. She saw the cheer that could be unlocked from within him when he was loved unconditionally.
"Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more…"
The Grinch was changed by love. His heart was filled with cheer because he received the gift of love freely. There was nothing he had to do to earn it. He didn't even ask for it. Yet, Cindy Lou Who showed love to the Grinch and the result was stunning. His heart was turned inside out and upside down. He was no longer the man he had once been. Sure, on the exterior he still looked the same, namely green. But on the inside he was a changed man with a new heart. The love he received filled him with cheer that he was then, in turn, able to share with the rest of Whoville.
So, my question for you today is where does your cheer come from? Are you looking for satisfaction and fulfillment in the boxes and bows of the Christmas season? Are you trying to buy the perfect gifts or decorate your home to be the most elaborate on the block? Are you so caught up in the stuff of the season that you're missing the true reason for the season?
Cheer, real honest to goodness life changing cheer, doesn't come from a store. It comes from something much, much more. The only truly lasting cheer comes from the realization that in a stable was born a baby who would one day die on a cross for our salvation. In that little baby came the precious gift of eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. The birth of Jesus Christ was the ultimate gift of love, unconditional and free.
Just like the Grinch didn't ask for Cindy Lou Who's love, we never asked for God's love. Still He has poured it out on us in the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Because "He so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
There is no greater love than that. There is no greater reason for cheer. It is life changing, turning hard hearts soft. The message of Jesus Christ and the salvation He brings is the free gift of love that invades the lives of the lost and changes them for good. Beautifully wrapped boxes and even the most perfectly tied bows can't change the hearts of the lost, only Jesus Christ can do that work of the soul.
This Christmas season spread the cheer that will last throughout the year. Share the cheer that Jesus brings. His love is the real reason for this season that can turn even the most stubborn of scrooges into a holiday cheermiester.