I love the Christmas Story, the one told in the Bible, not the movie. But I’ve always loved How the Grinch Stole Christmas, too. I know, it’s silly, and “Grinchy” and I can’t imagine the Christmas season without it.
Have you ever really thought about the story within the story, though? If we look at the story from a spiritual standpoint the Grinch is representative of everyone who knows about God, but doesn’t really know Him, hasn’t truly experienced God. The Whoville-ites are like those who have experienced God.
Knowing about something, and experiencing something are very different. I can know everything there is to know about having a baby, and I may have even delivered a baby, but if I haven’t actually had a baby I haven’t experienced it. I have been blessed to experience childbirth twice and have 3 beautiful, creative, intelligent and talented children as a result! I wouldn’t have missed a minute of that experience for the world! Believe me, I KNOW what childbirth is all about!
The same is true of God; we can know about Him from having gone to Sunday School, attended a church every Sunday for years, studied the scriptures, praised and worshipped, and been ever ready to “witness” to anyone who happens to cross our path. None of that is the same as experiencing Him. When we experience anything first hand we have a knowledge that transcends accumulated knowledge from an outside source. We have the “ah ha” moment, the light bulb turns on, and the experience gives us a whole new perspective.
I’m not talking about “getting saved”. For many that is merely repeating a prayer without really internalizing or understanding anything beyond the words that were spoken and living within “ritualistic legalism”; following a bunch of rules, most man-made and misconstrued, with no concept of the furious love of God. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the “salvation” experience. There was a time many years ago when I said the words and then tried to sort thru all the rules and regulations that the “Church” dumped on me 10 minutes after I got “saved”. I heard what the preacher said, that I was now free from sin, etc, but mostly what I understood was that I now had an obligation to do my best to prove to God that He hadn’t made a mistake by accepting me into His Kingdom. Well, I tried, and let me tell you I failed miserably at that! I became the Grinch sitting up on his Grinch mountain wondering what everyone down in Whoville knew that I didn’t.
The Grinch worked diligently to stop Christmas from coming, went the extra mile, and stole everything “Christmas” from the people in Whoville. None of his efforts stopped Christmas from coming, however. The Whoville-ites were downright joyous on Christmas morning, singing and making merry with their family and friends. The Grinch sat atop Grinch mountain scratching his pointy green head contemplating the events following his ploy to “steal” Christmas, and came up with the only plausible explanation; Christmas wasn’t about the tinsel and lights, the brightly wrapped packages, or the perfectly cooked ham. Christmas, it seemed, was about something deeper, more meaningful than the superficial tinsel and trinkets, and in that moment of pure revelation the Grinch’s heart grew 2 sizes that day! The ah-ha light bulb moment!
What was the difference between the Whoville-ites and the Grinch? How could they celebrate Christmas without all the bells and whistles? The Whoville-ites experienced Christmas; they didn’t just know about it. Christmas for Whoville was celebrated regardless of the tinsel, the lights, the presents, or the food because Christmas was something they knew and were confident was theirs to fully embrace. The Grinch couldn’t stay away; he had to join the festive merriment. Oh, joy beyond comprehension was his at last!
What the Grinch experienced is what it is like to truly experience God; to embrace His all encompassing, unconditional, furious love! If you haven’t experienced that you don’t know God; you only know about Him. Knowing God, having experienced His love, is not synonymous with salvation. We can say the prayer and follow the rules and “do” all the things that the church has decided are “Christ-like” and still not have had the experience of God Himself.
God isn’t so much interested in legalistic obedience; that was the relationship God had with His own prior to Yeshua. If the plan was not to move into deeper relationship with God there would have been no point to Yeshua’s life and sacrifice. The sacrifice of the cross opened the door to a love relationship with God unlike any that had existed before. That is the “Good News” we hear so much about.
God knows I am a messed up, screwed up, discombobulated disaster and He still wants to know me, wants to love me and wants me to know that I am adored by Him, loved beyond measure, in spite of my messiness. God knows I am going to screw up more than I even think I will screw up; I will disappoint Him, fall, fail, and foible my way thru life worse than I had imagined, and yet He still loves me the way that I am. That is a furious love. That is how He wants each of us to know Him.
Many in the “church” reject this message because it’s too simple, and not immersed in “works”, or proving that we are worthy of God’s love. The truth is that none of us is worthy of a Holy God’s love except thru the Gateway that He provided; Yeshua (Jesus). Not one of us can do enough works to make us acceptable, no not one.
If you’re wearing yourself out trying to prove yourself worthy to God, stop! If you’re certain that He has already rejected you because you cannot do anything “right” stop beating yourself up! God loves you just the way you are, today, this moment. Stop doing and start being; join the Whoville-ites and experience God’s unfathomable, furious love…..