This is my personal blog. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the congregations I serve.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Grinch: The Next Year.


All the Whos down in Whoville loved Christmas a lot.
And the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville was not
the least one of the lovers of Christmastime cheer.
Ever since his conversion, one notable year,
when he dressed up as Santa and stolen their toys,
slinking ‘round in the darkness and making no noise,
he had robbed them of presents and tinsel and bows,
he had taken their trees and their hung mistletoes,
and he carted it up to the top of Mt. Crumpit
intending for all of the world just to dump it….
But you know the story, its on every year,
between Frosty and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

And so now the old Grinch was the toast of the season,
and none of the Whos had a doubt of the reason,
for when he returned from the hill with their treasures,
they gave him forgiveness in infinite measure!
“This I like,” thought the Grinch, letting happiness show,
as he basked in good cheer and the warm fam’ly glow.
“I must keep this thing going forever, but how?
Why with more of the same!  I’ll outdo myself now:
If they think they’ve seen presents before, well just wait:
That last Christmas was good, but the next will be great!
But how can I afford it?” the Grinch grimly thought,
for the things that he’s stolen last time must be bought.
and he couldn’t invade the small who houses twice;
yeah, it worked okay last time, but twice wasn’t nice.
So he bought and he borrowed with all of his might
so the Whos waking up from next Christmas Eve night
might rejoice in the presents that he would be bring-
ing and welcome and love him and greet him with sing-
ing!  They’d make him feel wanted, accepted, respect-
ed, delivering all of the gifts they expected.  And
earning their favor again he’d retire
to his cave to relax with his dog by the fire.

So he rose Christmas morn while the darkness was ending
to load up his sleigh with the fruit of his spending.
And dressing up Max like a reindeer for show,
they  made tracks on the snow-covered path down below.
And arriving with trumpets and fanfare and ringing,
they entered the circle of Who-people singing.
And joyfully grinning from that ear to this,
the old Grinch started doling out presents and gifts.
He expected their cheers and their great adulation,
their hugs and their gratitude and jubilation.
and eagerly looking ahead to the feast
when again they would ask him to carve the roast beast.

Yes, but wait.  They did not crowd around him so madly.
Instead they stood back and looked up at him sadly.
They smiled, but they clearly were sorry to see
that he thought he could purchase what they gave for free.
The great lengths he would go to inspire them to love
him as clearly a sign he thought they were above him.
Yet, strangely, they were.  Because he just must fail
to see love and affection that weren’t for sale.
“It’s not that we’re ungrateful,” one said without lying.
“It’s just that our Christmas is not about buying.
You don’t have to purchase our love with a toy,
but at Christmas it’s given to us in the Boy
born in Bethlehem, so long ago; and now here,
in our hearts, where God enters to banish our fear.”
But the Grunch was just crestfallen, cold in the snow.
So the Who Pastor took him aside so he’d know
that they’d love him the same if he hadn’t brought stuff,
and he told them their faith that God’s love was enough.
And it wasn’t the packages, bright lights and bows,
and it wasn’t the price-tags on gifts that he chose,
and it wasn’t the stuff he had bought from a store,
but Christmas to them was a little bit more.
“It was you, only you, that we wanted, you see?
Just the gift of yourself with us, smiling and free!
So you don’t have to work and you don’t have to save,
and you don’t have to worry ‘bout how to behave;
and you don’t have to buy things on credit or pay,
we prefer that you didn’t, or gave it away
to the ones who are needy and homeless and poor.
To the lonely, the sick, and the hopeless unsure.

And he told them the story of Mary and Joe
who had traveled to Bethlehem so long ago.
How they struggled to town as best as they were able
and had to give birth to their child in a stable.
How shepherds were notified deep in the night
by a legion of angels surrounded by light.
And astrologers journeyed from nations afar,
being guided by such a mysterious star,
to pay homage to Him who was laid in a manger
so no more would we have to act like we’re strangers.
That baby grew up in the Wisdom of love,
and he taught with authority from God above.
and he healed all the sick ones and strengthened the lame
who would jump and, rejoicing, his great Name proclaim.
In the end they arrested and brought him to die….
But he rose on the third day to rule from on high!

And now in a world that seems colder than space,
where injustice and sadness appear to replace
the good grace of creation’s sweet God-given blessing.
Instead of protecting, the strong are oppressing.
Greed, fear, and shame rule in our hearts, which is why
now our pipelines of poison are breaking the sky.
If your child can be shot in the street or in class
it’s no wonder we wonder how long this can last.

The Grinch had it right, did he not?  Look around.
Don’t we act like the love that we need isn’t found
like the air that we breathe that God gives us for free,
but is some precious thing that we covet and we
need to hoard and protect and sell at a high cost,
or buy at a premium?  Fearing the loss,
we give in and we buy it.  Now see how he thought
he was justified feeling the Whos could be bought?

But they couldn’t, you see, and so neither can we.
For we’re already purchased, we already free
to give love to each other in infinite measure,
we, each of us, has in our heart a great treasure.
We just have to find it and open the door.
And this is the truth of what Christmas is for:
For the child who was born on that night long ago
is now born in our hearts by the Spirit, and so
we are full of rejoicing, thanksgiving, and love,
for the Presence of God has come down from above
to reveal to us hope, peace, joy, grace, and salvation,
and give us good news to proclaim to all nations.
For God has done for us more than we are able,
so let us adore him the Babe in the stable.
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