Here’s my Christmas Eve sermon from 2009:
How the Grinch Missed Christmas
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Text: (1 John 4:7-11 ESV) “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
This is the Word of our Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
You’ve probably heard of the Grinch and the whos
That Christmas comes even when we get bad news
But Christmas is more than bright lights and roast beast
And more than friends, family, and songs, at the least!
See, Theodore Geisel’s a great storyteller
That guy, Dr. Seuss, was a talented feller
And as a Luth’ran, he liked Christmas: you said it,
But the Grinch, without Jesus, he just didn’t get it.
We think about Christmas and all of its trappings
The travel, the parties, the gifts and their wrappings
The shopping and hunting for whatnots and Zhu Zhu’s
And running around ’til you ache in your shoe-shoes.
Along with the tree and the stress and the fun
There’s still deeper meaning that’s second to none
How God sent the Savior to save everyone
The Father sent Jesus. He sent us His Son!
See, just like the Grinch, we were born with a defect
A tendency all that is good just to reject
It’s not that our hearts are two sizes too small
Our hearts are so sinful, we’re not live at all.
The heart of a human, in sin it is rooted
And thus it’s all poisoned and gross and polluted
We don’t want to live like a child of the Lord
We get more concerned by the riches we hoard.
Since God knew the problem with which we all suffer
He isn’t the type to just sit on His duffer
He had Him a plan that He knew from the start
He’d handle our sin. He’d clean up our heart.
So just when the time was right, just at that minute
When all was in place, He began to begin it
His Son became flesh, and He came to our earth
He took on our weakness and went through our birth
And although in heaven, He had all kinds of glory,
There’s not much of that in the true Christmas story
To fulfill the Law so to God you’re no stranger,
He was born in a stall and was laid in a manger.
And not far away, there was noise and commotion
While angels appeared and gave shepherds a notion
That God had sent Love not just to all the wealthy,
But to poor folks and sad ones, the weak and unhealthy.
The angel said, “Go,” and the shepherds, they came
And they found a small babe like the angel did claim
And they were so amazed, so they ran through the town
And soon all Bethlehem heard of what they had found.
That the God of the ages in a whole new endeavor
Had become mortal man to give us His forever
He put it aside, all His glory and power
To save people who’d weekly maybe give Him an hour.
Why, you ask, would a God who’s so righteous and mighty
Give Himself for a people whose commitment’s so flighty?
Is it ’cause we possess some great thingamajig?
No. It’s all ’cause His heart’s extranormously big.
Just because God is love in a way we can’t fathom,
And He saw that between us sin had dug a chasm,
He knew that we were lost; hope was beyond diminished,
And the only way was if He started and finished
So that’s why on this day we remember the child
And we sing of the infant, “So tender and mild,”
But the story’s not done. Here’s the part that gets lost:
Being laid in a trough’s only part of the cost.
Because 30 years later, He gets going and preaches,
Heals lepers, cures blindness, gives all kinds of speeches,
To sinners and tax collectors He outreaches,
And walks to a boat that’s far out from the beaches.
And even all that’s not the reason for joy
That we celebrate on this day that little Boy
On the feast of His birth and His first little breath
The real reason we’re feasting is because of His death.
Once again, when the time had been fully fulfilled,
He was hauled off to trial, and He got Himself killed
They attached Him with nails to an old wooden tree,
And He willingly went to redeem you and me.
Because on that old cross, where He hurt, and He bled,
And He suffered from whips and the thorns in His head,
And He suffered until He was finally dead,
There He paid for our sins as the prophets foresaid.
But the story’s not done, no it’s not, don’t you know it?
Since He’d paid with His life for the times that we blow it,
There’s no way death could hold Him, though He didn’t forgo it,
He came out of the grave, life forever to show it!
So with hearts full to bursting, we all share on this night
How the Lord of creation put the devil to flight
By a child in a manger, a cross and a grave
The whole world was forgiven, to sin no more a slave.
And so as you go forth with all your family
And your thoughts wander north and look under the tree,
As the Bible has told through God’s inspired pen,
Love has come down among us, and in His name, Amen.
Now the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.