Encouragement for your daily walk with God
Thanksgiving celebrations are over and, as they say, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go!” Stores are fully stocked with Christmas items. Houses are already decorated with beautiful lights. Christmas trees are being lit in houses across the land. TV stations are showing Christmas themed programs. And as we would tell our grandchildren, “It’s only 24 sleeps til Christmas!”
Have you watched your favorite Christmas movie yet? I haven’t, but I’m going to … soon. I happen to really like Dr. Seuss’s classic Christmas tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s about a Grinch who suffers from having a small heart. His isn’t a congenital problem, however. His heart is small because he doesn’t understand the meaning of Christmas. Hence, he tries to put a stop to it. But by the end of the movie, he comes to understand Christmas and his heart grows — three sizes larger. What a difference a heart change makes!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas strikes me as a Christian parable. When a person comes to know the meaning of Christmas, a heart-change takes place. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord,” Luke wrote [2.11]. Matthew added that the Christ child, Jesus, born in Bethlehem, would “take away the sins of the world" [1.21].
A heart change takes place when the Good News of salvation touches a person. And what a change it is. We are made completely new. The Apostle Paul said it like this, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things [like your cold heart of stone] has passed away, and behold, the new has come [like your heart of soft flesh]" 2 Corinthians 5.17.
So, on this December 1st I say, “Welcome Christmas!” We celebrate it because its true meaning makes all the difference in the world. Jesus came with the power to change hearts.
O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in;
Be born in us today!
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!
(from O Little Town of Bethlehem, words by Phillip Brooks, 1868)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36.26