In his popular Christmas tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Theodore Geisel (aka, Dr. Seuss) tells the story of the Grinch who hated Christmas because his heart was “two sizes too
small.” From his cave atop Mt. Crumpit, the angry Grinch devised a cunning plan to steal Christmas from the holiday-loving Whos residing in Who-ville below. On the night before
Christmas the Grinch “slithered and slunk” through the Who-ville homes, robbing them of their presents, decorations, food for their feast, and everything else related to their celebration of Christmas.
As the Whos awoke on Christmas morning to find their celebration items missing, the Grinch gleefully exclaimed, “They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!” Convinced that the Whos “will all cry BOO-HOO,” the Grinch listened closely to what was happening in Who-ville, far below Mt. Crumpit. Much to his surprise, the Whos were not weeping and crying, but were singing “without any presents at all!” And so, in the words of Dr. Seuss:
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!
While toys and tags, and boxes and bags remain a considerable part of many Christmas celebrations, most people (we hope) realize—as did the Grinch—that Christmas “means a little bit more!” But WHAT does it mean? WHAT is the reason for this season of Yuletide celebration?
The popular response, as seen on displays, Christmas cards, a myriad of seasonal decorations, and more, is that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” And while this is an oft-heard refrain during the weeks leading up to the big day of gift-giving, feasting, and merriment, one must ask if it is entirely accurate. Is Jesus really the “reason for the season”?
Certainly the Christmas holiday season is a time when the followers of Jesus around the globe pause to observe and commemorate His entry into this world as a baby born in Bethlehem to a young girl named Mary. And while we have no certainty of an exact date for the Savior’s incarnation, the celebration of Christ’s birth on this date has occurred for centuries and remains an important date on the calendar of most churches. Even the very word “Christmas” comes from two Old English words meaning “Christ Sent,” and refers to the time when the Christ was sent into our world. So, while the season does indeed celebrate the Creator’s appearance in human form as the infant we call Jesus, it is still important to question the reason for the Christ child’s birth (i.e., “the REASON for the season”).
The true reason that Christ came into this world is because we need a Savior. The Apostle Paul made it clear that we were “dead” in our transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1, Col. 2:13), and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Paul also explained, however, that “when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those
under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Gal. 4:4-5). In other words, Christ came into the world to offer salvation to those who were lost and hopelessly in need of a Savior. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And, as Acts 4:12 reminds us, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
So, while we may accurately exclaim that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” and consider the Christmas holiday a special occasion to reflect upon the Savior’s entry into our
world, we should never forget that Jesus came because humanity needs a Savior. He came because of us! Without the Savior, we are eternally and despairingly lost. And with this in
mind, it may be more accurate to exclaim: “We are the Reason for the Season!” It was because of us that this Christ child was born, lived a sinless life, died upon a cross, and conquered death on the third day when he rose from the grave.
As you celebrate the Christmas holiday, take time to recognize—as did the Grinch—that Christmas doesn't come from a store,” but “Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more! And as you open your Yuletide presents, consider God’s incomparably great gift of a Savior who came to this world to offer us eternal life. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:23). And remember, this gift was given because of our need for a Savior: “We are the Reason for the Season!”