I went to see “The Grinch” on Saturday.
Benedict Cumberbatch voiced this season’s grumpy green guy while Chris Renaud provided dog noises for Grinch’s loyal and expressive pet Max. You all know the story I’m sure. Grinch hates the happiness of Whoville at Christmastime and so decides to steal it away from them. Posing as Santa in a Max-powered sleigh they zoom off and remove trees and treats, presents and decorations from all the town. But the residents celebrate anyway. Grinch, realizing his error, returns the goods, repents before the townsfolk and slinks off back to his solitary cave on Mount Crumpet. The town is quickly restored and Little Cindy Lou Who (Della Saba) invites Grinch to Christmas dinner. It’s Dickens all over again as the no longer lonely Grinch is transformed by the unimaginable grace of the Whos of Whoville.
Many of our best-loved Christmas classics are really redemption stories re-told with tender emotion, tear-jerking dialogue, beautiful scenery, sweet children or adorable large-eyed animation – but no Jesus. Consider these: A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Meet me in St. Louis, The Muppets Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!
We seem to know instinctively that love and grace, redemption and restoration, hope and peace are all parts of something….. something long forgotten… something that we can catch glimpses of at this time of the year, but not quite identify. It’s like a half-remembered dream for many as they struggle to find the missing pieces.
But the Christian knows the full picture. The portrait is Christ. You can’t make the puzzle pieces form any other image. It is not Santa-mas, Elf-mas, Tiny Tim-mas, George Bailey-mas, Red-nosed Rudolph-mas, nor green-guy Grinch-mas! The picture on the box lid is Jesus. It is and evermore will be Christmas.
The real redemption story is no “Who” done it. Jesus done it! He done it all! Look up, and rejoice!