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One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions is watching Christmas movies. Usually, in December we’ll watch a Christmas movie each night. Sometimes it’s a short cartoon “Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas” or one of the old claymations–especially on a weeknight. On the weekends we put in some of the longer ones. We have so many now that we get to pick and choose which ones we want to watch each year.
However, there are a few movies that we always make sure to watch every year. A version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, I grew up with both the original cartoon and the Jim Carrey version. This year though we bought the newest one and all liked it. It’s a little more “modern” but overall it’s cute. It’s not as long, and the Grinch isn’t quite as Grinch-y so it’s not as potentially scary for younger kids! A version of “A Christmas Carol”–our favorite is the musical version starring Kelsey Grammer (the soundtrack is wonderful as well)! And of course, the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life“.
Christmas for some of us it truly is a wonderful time of the year. There’s great food, time spent with family, bright lights, Christmas cookies, and Christmas music 24/7. For others though, it’s a really hard time of the year. People are reminded of what they’ve maybe never had or something or someone they’ve lost.
And it made me stop and think about the characters in these Christmas movies…The Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, and George Bailey all have something in common. They were able to experience love in its truest form.
A love that didn’t seek to mold them into someone different, but a love that showed them what they were missing. What was right in front of them the whole time that they just couldn’t quite see. They were loved for who they were in that moment just as they were–smelly, dirty, miserly, and bitter.
Someone came alongside them, despite who they had become, without expectation, and loved them. Cindy Lou Who, Scrooge’s nephew Fred, and Clarance. These “angels”, if you will, weren’t deterred, they simply showed up with an offer too good to refuse…An energy and a hope that they didn’t have to stay that way forever. As a result, The Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, and George Bailey’s eyes were opened. They saw maybe for the first time the gift that they had been given. The people that did (or could) love them given the chance and their lives were forever changed.
Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
The one time of the year when the world pauses if only for a day to remember a little baby boy born in a manger to save us all. “For God so loved the world that He gave…” (John 3:16). As fun as Christmas is for me, Christmas is more than the lights, the carols, the movies, or the food. It’s about remembering the hope that we have. Because God gave and Jesus came, we have an everlasting hope that maybe not in this life, but in the next everything will be made right. They’ll be no tears, no sadness, and no night (Revelation 21:4).
But yet here while on earth we’ll have our share of Grinches, Scrooges, and bitter George Bailey’s. And we have a choice: we can either ignore them and pass them by or extend the love that God gave us to them just like Cindy Lou Who, Fred, and Clarance. We may not ever get the opportunity to see the transformation as they did but we can play a small part in opening their eyes, loving them for who they are, where they are, without expectation just like God did for us (Romans 5:8).