The Grinch hated Christmas because of the size of his heart. It had atrophied over the years as he spent all his time loving himself and hating the Whos. His plan was to take all the stuff away from those Whos down in Who-ville, which would once-and-for-all stop their Christmas celebration and all the noise, noise, noise!
So on the night before Christmas, the Grinch entered Who-ville and loaded up his sleigh with everything the Whos had, even down to the last crumb in the house—a crumb too small for even a mouse! How happy the Grinch was to know he had finally stopped Christmas from coming . . . or so he thought. Putting a hand to his ear to hear the Whos crying “Boo Hoo Hoo,” he could not believe what he did hear. The sound was not sad; it was glad! Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing, without any presents at all. He had not stopped Christmas from coming. It came! But how was that possible, when he had stolen everything?
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags! And he puzzled and puzzled, ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more.”
The Grinch found out that Christmas was more about the heart than the hands. For the Whos, Christmas was not wrapped up in what their hands could hold; it was all about what their hearts could hold. And for all of them it was love. Love was more important than ribbons, tags, packages, boxes, and bags.
So what is the message that the Grinch proclaims to all of us this Christmas? For the Christian, Christmas is all about love, and love is not a propositional truth. Love is a person—the Person whose birth we just celebrated. We need to know the difference if we are to know real love. Steve Brown says, “Its’ like the difference between reading a book on lions and meeting one, or between looking at an advertisement for Florida oranges and eating one.”
What is amazing about this love is how we got it. We did not earn it. It was not the result of something we did. If it was it would not be love, it would be a reward . . . some kind of pay-back. And that is why so many in the world today miss God’s love. They are looking for it on the other side of their performance and obedience. But this love came to us freely and unconditionally when we were most unlovable.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. (Colossians 1:21-22 NIV)
We are not loved because of who we are. We are loved because of who He is—“God is love” (1 John 4:16). The neat thing about this love is found in the fact that we can love to the extent we have been loved, which means we can love like God loves. We can love unconditionally. We can love freely. We can love mercifully. We can even love those who don’t love us back.
So . . . if your Christmas came without ribbons, tags, packages, boxes, or bags, were you able to do what the Whos did? Was your heart still filled with love and thanksgiving for the Giver of the gifts, rather than the gifts themselves? Only the Gospel can do this for us. Only the Gospel can fill us with a love that looks past the stuff of life to the Savior who has secured everlasting life for us by the shedding of His blood.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!