You know the kind of Christmas patterned after the movie, How the Grinch stole Christmas, in which the Who’s of Whoville gather around a tree without presents and sing anyway. To be honest, I found it refreshing not to be burdened down with all those expectations that go along with gift giving. Obviously, there are no children in our household. Let’s face it, a Who Christmas would not work so well with youngins’ in the house?
Hebrews 13 is a primer on love in terms of communal life and is the biblical exemplar presented in this movie. For it was the design of Christ in giving Himself for us so that He would purchase to Himself a peculiar people, zealous in good works (Titus 2: 14). After all, the central theme of Christianity is the indwelling Spirit of Christ which is love. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15: 12-13).
In the text, brotherly love was in danger of being lost. It was written during a period of time in which Christ Followers were being persecuted, when it would be most necessary; it was in danger of being lost by those disputes that were among them. And isn’t this the way of it in our world today? Disputes upon disputes rule the day. Even within the community of Christ’s church, believers draw battle lines. Disputes too often produce a decay of godly affection and this must be stopped. Godly love must be restored and preserved. Our place in the world as Christ Followers, as salt and light, is to grow more in love with Christ who demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still enemies committing treason, unworthy of grace, and yet, He died in our place (Romans 5: 7-9). Thereby, His love and our gratitude of it, is the motivation for our love for believers and unbelievers alike. Love is by Him, for Him and His kingdom.
In the movie, despite the Grinch’s malicious deeds, the Who’s demonstrated godly hospitality and love towards him. What was his response? The Grinch repented and grew a new heart, three times its previous size.
Don’t you think it’s about time that we begin to seek the city which is to come and offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name (Hebrews 13: 14-15). And yes, all sacrifices will involve the burning of the fat. For it is in either the quick sear or the long, slow roast that produces the sweet smelling fragrance.
“Live in love as Christ also loved us. He gave his life for us as an offering and sacrifice, a soothing aroma to God” (Ephesians5: 2).
“Your gifts are a soothing aroma, a sacrifice that God accepts and with which he is pleased” (Philippians 4: 18b).
Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.