All Have Grinched: The Gospel in Unexpected Places
This post is part of a continuing series in which I expose the unconscious fingerprint of Biblical truth in secular Christmas traditions. The idea is to see how at this time of year the imago dei shines through and points back to the true reason for the season.
Christmas has its share of villains. There's Scrooge and his grumpy "bah humbugs" of course. And then there's the archetypal non-jolly CEO in every Hallmark Christmas movie ever. There's the legendary Krampus as well.
But do you recall, the most famous Christmas villain of all?
That would be the vile one himself, the bad banana with a greasy black peel, the foul one , the king of sinful sots -- the Grinch who stole Christmas.
Dr. Seuss's classic green monster with a heart two sizes too small that tries to stop Christmas, only to discover what Christmas is really about, is delightfully hate-worthy prior to his transformation. My main problem with the live-action version of the story is that it strives to make this character sympathetic and in so doing misses the point - the Grinch is so evil because he simply is.
This actually goes back to the old question of whether man corrupts society or society corrupts man. Of course, as a Christian I believe that man is corrupt because of his sin nature, and that since society is made up of people in this condition society reflects that condition.
Which brings me to the song "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch." This is an odd Christmas song when you consider it is nothing more than a list of insults directed a fictional person. But it is a catchy song and one of my favorites. Listening to it recently though, a thought occurred to me: in the eyes of God, we are all the Grinch. The reaction that the singer has toward the Grinch is but a fraction of the reaction that the Thrice Holy God has toward the stain of sin. And that sin is in our nature (Romans 5:12-13), and it our sinfulness corrupts our very being (Romans 3:10-18).
In other words, sin is not something to be dismissed. As disgusting as a soul that is "an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots" our sinful hearts are worse. Our sinfulness keeps us from being with God, and on our own there is no way to solve this problem.
But the Gospel is that we do not remain in the state of Grinch-hood. Unlike the singer of the song who won't touch the Grinch with a ten and half foot poll, our God sent his Son to earth to pay the price for our sins. And by the Power of the Holy Spirit our dead tomato hearts with moldy purple spots are made new.
The gospel in the story of the Grinch is that in the eyes of God we no longer Grinchy. We are covered in the righteousness of the Lamb who was slain. And one day we will be fully changed and we never be the Grinch again.