I recently watched the new Grinch movie with my nieces; it is one of my all-time favourite Christmas movies. Over the years, I have resonated with the Grinches’ disgust at flashing lights and crowds of people running around accumulating stuff. As I watched the movie, I realised that the Grinch hated neither people nor Christmas but their selfishness and materialism. He pays attention to Cindy Lou because all she wants for Christmas is for her mum to be happy. When the Grinch steals Christmas and the Who’s gather, he notices their return to their values; the materialistic things become unimportant as they join hands and remember what matters is being together in the community. As I reflected on the movie, I took two things from it.
People want your presence, not your presents. We often get so caught up in our lives that Christmas becomes a chore, a day where we run from place to place with presents and food that we don’t sit and pay attention to what matters – people. The greatest gift you can give your kids and others this year is your presence, to put the material things aside and focus on each other. Jesus was born so that we may be reconciled to God, to one another and creation, so I challenge you this Christmas to put the technology away and be present.
Christmas is a time of transformation and hope. The Grinches’ heart was three sizes too small, but as he came into a community and became a part of a new family, he joined hands with others, and his heart grew three sizes. When the light of the Good News of Jesus dawns upon a person’s heart, God replaces the old heart of stone with a new, fleshy heart – and a new person emerges.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
For Christians, Christmas is more than just a time to gather with loved ones and receive gifts. Instead, it is a reminder that through Jesus, God has allowed us to be reconciled to Him, receive a new heart, and become a part of his family. The birth of Jesus reminds the world of hope, peace, and joy in a chaotic world.
I want to challenge you all to be present this Christmas and to open your hearts to be transformed by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. I pray that you know the peace, joy and hope that Jesus brings this season and that you will gather in your communities and families and remember what matters – people.
Below is a prayer from Poet Robert Louis Stevenson; I pray that this prayer blesses you as we head into Christmas.
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening brings us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus’ sake.
Mrs April Edwards