Are you familiar with the story of how the Grinch Stole Christmas? It’s the Dr. Seuss classic, isn’t it? The Grinch comes down the mountain and he wants to steal away all the presents and the decorations from the Whos down in Whoville. Because he wants them to have a miserable Christmas. He wants to steal their joy. Though after he does all of those things and brings it all back up the mountain with him, he listens, and he wants to hear what’s going to happen as they wake up on Christmas morning. And to his shock, they begin to sing. They still are filled with joy and celebration.
Certainly a great message in that little cartoon or if you’ve read the book as well. The message that the Grinch himself testifies to that maybe Christmas isn’t something that you can buy in a store. Maybe Christmas is much more.
This year, many people wonder if the joy of Christmas is going to be stolen from us. People are concerned that because of the corona virus there’s going to be further shutdowns, maybe even prohibiting us from celebrating Christmas with our loved ones, with our family and friends. Does that mean that our joy is taken away at Christmas? I’ve read through enough Christmas books with my kids and seen enough kids Christmas movies to know that a lot of them proclaim this message about Christmas: that it’s not about the decorations and presents, it’s about time spent with family.
So what if that’s taken away? What if we can’t spend time with our family over the holidays? Will that mean that Christmas will be stolen? That there’ll be no joy? Well it’s good for us to think about what the angel first said to the shepherds on Christmas Eve. The very first one in Bethlehem.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people: Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)
You know the angel talks about good news of great joy. Great joy. Joy for them, it isn’t the joy of presents and decorations, it isn’t the joy of Santa Claus, or even time with family and friends. It’s the joy of a Savior, Jesus Christ. He comes for all people.
So the truth for us is that even this Christmas, even if for some reason we won’t be allowed to celebrate it with friends and family, it wouldn’t steal the joy of Christmas from us. That joy is always ours and Christ the one who is born to live and die for us. The one who comes to give us the certainty that our sins are paid for. The certainty that even though we die yet we shall live in Christ.
And that’s such an important thing this time of year too. You know especially as we think about this corona virus, so many people have on their minds this worry and concern about their own lives, their own bodies, but Jesus comes to bring a message that provides comfort even concerning sickness, even concerning death itself. That he is the one who has defeated death. That’s the one who’s born for us in the manger. The one who comes as the victor over death itself.
So is your joy going to be stolen this Christmas? I certainly hope not. Not if your joy is found in the Christ child and your Savior, Jesus, amen.