“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 and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
One thing (of many) that has occurred to me over the past few weeks as I have been preparing the sermons for our Christmas sermon series—called Anticipation: Expectancy, Hope and Christmas—is that Christmas always “means a little bit more” than we think it does. It is a grander narrative, a more profound story than we are capable of exhausting. After so many Christmases, just when we think we have command of its themes and doctrines and applications, another vista of wonder opens before us. Despite the fact that our culture has cheapened the season to be about tinsel and toys, Christmas will continue to have a depth and breadth that leaves us in awe if we take the time to peer into its wonder.
The theme of anticipation has been a fascinating journey for me. And the brief time spent in the book of Isaiah has left me intrigued and intent of preaching this book one day. What an undertaking that will be. But even as this series comes to an end on Christmas Eve, new themes and new ideas spring up from the rich soil of Christ’s incarnation.
One angle on Christ’s birth that occurs to me this morning is the idea of warfare. Though in some ways Christmas has an ethos aligned with the serenity of the ever favourite “Silent Night, Holy Night”, it also has thematic foundation of warfare. Consider these words by C. H. Spurgeon:
There was enmity between Christ and Satan, for he came to destroy the works of the devil and to deliver those who are under bondage to him. For that purpose he was born; for that purpose did he live; for that purpose did he die; for that purpose he has gone into glory; for that purpose he will come again, that everywhere he may find out his adversary and utterly destroy him and his works from amongst the sons of men (emphasis mine).
Perhaps that will be the theme for a couple of sermons next year; “The Battle Began in Bethlehem” or something like that.
Regardless, I bring this somewhat surprising Christmas theme to your attention simply to remind and reinforce to you the profundity and inexhaustible glory of Christmas, and to encourage you to commit, this year and in years to come should Jesus tarry, to mine the riches of this wonderful season and better comprehend the amazing Saviour who was born to a virgin, wrapped in swaddling cloths, and laid in a manger. Because Christmas will always mean “a little bit more.”
A Merry Christmas to my West London Alliance Church family, and to any others who frequent this blog!