A Heart Two Sizes Too Small

How the Grinch Stole Christmas ranks as one of the most popular children’s books of the holiday season. Theodore Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss—first published the whimsical tale in 1957.

Chuck Jones later made the story into an animated TV special in 1966. Then in December 2000, Jim Carey starred as the title role in a feature film.

Most of us are familiar with the story . . .

Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . .                                                  But the Grinch, who lived just North of Who-ville, did NOT!                                           The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!                                      Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.                                           It could be that his head wasn’t screwed on quite right.                                                    It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.                                                        But I think that the most likely reason of all                                                                    May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

The story appeals to children of all ages because Christmas can bring out the Grinch in the best of us. Although these days are supposed to be merry and bright, December can feel dreary and dark.

The holiday blues occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Physical:                     passing colds, life-threatening illness, chronic pain
  • Psychological:            grief over loss
  • Financial:                    overextended budgets
  • Relational:                  broken or nonexistent relationships
  • Spiritual:                     consumerism, materialism, and other “isms”

We WANT a Norman Rockwell Christmas set in a Currier and Ives’ print suitable for a Hallmark Christmas special. We envision chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at our nose, carolers on the stoop, cheerful children around the tree, stockings hung by the chimney with care, turkey and some mistletoe, and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We GET a Homer Simpson holiday suitable for a National Lampoon movie. We wouldn’t recognize a chestnut if Jack Frost DID nip our nose. The carolers are off key while the children fuss and the turkey won’t thaw. And after last winter, most of us have experienced enough “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” to last a lifetime.

All these things and more can drain the Merry out of Christmas and the Happy out of Holidays. We may find our Grinch-like hearts two sizes too small.

If we want to find joy in the Advent and Christmas seasons, then we need to hear the Christmas story for the first time all over again. We are invited to discover that the Christmas story is the gospel story; and the gospel story can be MY story.

We find true joy—or to be more theologically accurate, true joy finds us—when we accept the Babe of Bethlehem as the Savior of our lives. The first and last word of the Gospel is grace. Grace is God’s unearned and unmerited love and salvation in our lives.

In John 15:11, Jesus told his disciples: These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in your, and that your joy may be full. It is our Lord’s plan and desire that we be filled with joy. In one of the most familiar and favorite Christmas carols, we sing:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King;                                          let every heart, prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing!

Here is the everlasting Joy of Christmas—Christ has come into the world. God became who we are so that we might become who God is. God’s joy becomes our joy when Christ comes into our hearts. We know who we are and whose we are.

It’s never too early or too late to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. God’s children are invited to experience the peace, hope, joy, and love of the season. Joy to the world, the Lord is come—in our world and in our hearts—now and forevermore!

3 thoughts on “A Heart Two Sizes Too Small

  1. Thanks Bill:
    Much appreciate how you have shown us there is everlasting joy in Christ, in Christmas and our fellowship with one another. Thank you for being my pastor.
    Blessings,
    Dan Fuller

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  2. Thanks for the Grinch story and the reminder of the things that distract us from the real meaning of Christmas. Scrooge is also a reminder. Grief and busyness often sap our energy and take away our joy. We do indeed need to prepare room for Christ to enter in, by attending special services, being around people who help us share joyful moments,quiet prayer moments, time spent in God’s world and presence. May the Christ of Christmas be present with you and your family and provide great love, peace, and joy.

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