Note: We will be examining each of the characters from the Christmas story found in Matthew 1–3 and Luke 1–3 on the blog this month. I’d love for you to grab your Bible and read those passages before digging into these posts.
Did you know that the furry green character with the tiny heart who scorned the Christmas spirit found in Whoville is not the original Grinch? Nope. Not even close. The original Grinch was there at the very first Christmas. He didn’t have green skin (that I know of). He didn’t whip up a plan to steal presents from the good citizens of Whoville, but he did try to sabotage Christmas.
Remember that Matthew 2:1–2 says:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the says of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
King Herod was among the very first to hear that Jesus had been born, but he didn’t take the news very well.
Verse 3 tells us, “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
What was it about the news of Jesus’ birth that rubbed Herod the wrong way? The wise men referred to Jesus as the “king of the Jews.” That was a problem for Herod because he was the reigning king of the Jews. He did not want to be overruled, overshadowed, or overtaken.
You see, Christmas brought Herod the news that he was not really in charge, that his circumstances were not under his control, that the universe was not orbiting around him. And this made Herod very mad indeed. Just like the green Grinch created by Dr. Seuss, Herod got busy doing everything he could to erase the true spirit of Christmas.
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him” (vv. 7–8).
Herod didn’t really plan to worship; he planned to destroy. But nothing can stop the plans of God, not even a powerful king with a pride problem.
Nope, the original Grinch didn’t manage to steal the very first Christmas. No one could stop Jesus from coming to dwell among us. Just like no one would be able to stop Him from dying for us. The next time it feels like Jesus might not come through on all He has promised you, remember Herod—a powerful king who was powerless to stop the plan God set into motion.
There will always be those who are threatened by Jesus. There will be those who miss the significance of His arrival and those who try to make it about something other that the Savior’s birth. But their song will never drown Him out. Herod learned the hard way that Christmas cannot be stolen.
This year, let’s celebrate the birth of our unstoppable God.