|Theme:||How Herod tried to steal the first Christmas. (1st Sunday after Christmas)|
|Object:||Book or Video — "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"|
|Scripture:||When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." Matthew 2:13 (NIV)|
I'm sure that most of you have read the story of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." If you haven't read the story, perhaps you have seen the movie. If so, you will remember how everyone in Who-ville loved Christmas. Everyone, that is, except the Grinch. The Grinch hated Christmas and made up a plan to spoil the joy of Christmas in Who-ville. His plan was to dress up as Santa Claus and go into Who-ville and steal all of their Christmas presents, all of their Christmas trees, and even the food for their Christmas dinner.
What a terrible thing to do! Do you know why the Grinch hated Christmas so much? Well, according to the story, it was because his heart was too small! He was so selfish that he hated to see anyone else who was happy and enjoying themselves. But, as you know, the Grinch's plan did not work. Why? Because the people in Who-ville knew that the real joy of Christmas does not come from the presents, decorations, and food -- it comes from a heart filled with love.
The story of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is not a true story, but this morning I want to tell you a true story of another "Grinch" who tried to steal Christmas. In fact, he tried to steal the very first Christmas. This "Grinch" was a king by the name of Herod.
After Jesus was born, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and asked where they could find the child who had been born to be the king of the Jews. "We have seen his star in the sky and want to worship him" they said. When Herod heard about this, he told the men that when they found the child, they should come back and tell him where the child was so that he could worship him too. The truth is, Herod didn't really want to worship Jesus, he wanted to kill him. Why? Perhaps his heart was too small! Herod was so selfish that he was afraid Jesus would become more popular than he was and perhaps even take over his kingdom.
Well, Herod's plan to kill Jesus didn't work. After the wise men found Jesus and gave him gifts, an angel told them about Herod's plan and they went back home without telling Herod where they had found Jesus. An angel also appeared to Joseph and warned him of Herod's plan and told him to take Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt where they would be safe.
And so, we see that since the very first Christmas, Grinches have been trying to steal the joy of Christmas. There may be some "Grinches" that are trying to steal your Christmas joy. It will never work -- unless your heart is too small. Make sure that your heart is big enough to share the love and joy of Christmas with everyone you meet -- not just at Christmas -- but all year long.
Dear Father, we thank you for the joy that Jesus brings. Help us to share that joy with everyone we meet. In Jesus'name we pray, amen.
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