"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26)
In Dr. Seuss's classic Christmas tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch suffers from having a small heart. The source of his heart problem is his lack of understanding the meaning of Christmas. You’ll remember, the Grinch tries to put a stop to Christmas, but in the end, he comes to understand what Christmas is all about and his heart grows three sizes! This heart change makes a big difference in his life.
I'm not sure what Theodor Seuss Geisel intended when he wrote the story back in 1957, but it certainly comes across as a Christian parable that parallels the change that takes place in a person's life when he or she comes to understand the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus, God's Son, who was born to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). When the Good News of Jesus is received in the heart of a person, God replaces the old heart of stone, with a new heart of flesh – and a new person emerges. Paul wrote, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As the Who’s in Whoville sing: "Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand." A heart changed through salvation in Jesus Christ will make all the difference in the world.
As believers, may our hearts this Christmas echo the lyrics of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”: Holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in; Be born in us today! We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel!
We celebrate Christmas because of the power Jesus brought to change our hearts.
1. Give an example of a time when you changed your mind about something.
2. How did the words or actions of others influence your change of heart?
3. Towards the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, what happened that caused the Grinch to change his mind about Christmas? What lessons might we learn from the story?
4. How has understanding the true meaning of Christmas made a difference in your life?
Guy Shafer is Associate to the Executive Pastor at First Baptist Dallas. He and Mary have been married since May 1985. They have three grown children. Tyler is married to Sarah, Kathleen is married to Mark DeSouza, and Adam Morgan is married to Evie, all residing in the DFW area. Most importantly, Guy and Mary have four grandchildren and are expecting their fifth in the spring of 2018.