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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Reflections from History and Faith

Where Are You Christmas?

     By Jeff Olson

A popular contemporary song of the Christmas season, “Where Are You Christmas?” from the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is about the search for the magic and truth of Christmas beyond childhood and the material things of life. Released 20 years ago, it has become a season standard. It is such a beautiful song with a sincere and honest plea and I always enjoy listening to it this time of year. While this movie is obviously not Christian per se, it nevertheless is enriched by traditional Christmas carols and some important Christian/Biblical themes such as family, community, love, kindness, joy, repentance, forgiveness, transformation and redemption. These are at the core of God’s design and at the heart of humanity’s need and ultimate search for truth, purpose, belonging and relevance – and they played an important role in converting the Grinch from the archnemesis of Christmas to one of its most enthusiastic celebrants.  

    “Where are you…” signals a curiosity and indeed implores a search and one of a personal nature. It may be a search for something or someone to fill a void in our lives; a search for someone who we may hope is also searching for us; a search that many of us may not even realize we are in; a search for something that perhaps never really existed. This search may have strong and deep implications which reach far beyond the context of our movie and beautiful song and into the deeper realms of life itself. Even our mean ole Grinch was on such a search.

    Where are you Christmas? Are you in the departments of stores where scores of people have been searching for that perfect gift and Santa is poised to please? Are you on the Internet where multitudes of people are cruising through websites to find that certain gift and doing so to avoid the crazy Christmas rush and to avoid COVID-19? Are you in the grocery stores where the same people will be searching for the ingredients for that festive Christmas dinner and perfect dessert? Are you in homes where people will be searching for just the right words to include in the Christmas cards or e-mail greetings to those family and friends, some of whom we haven’t been in touch for a while – perhaps since last Christmas? Are you in the homes where a Christmas tree is beautifully decorated and with presents stacked underneath? Are we even searching in the right places and at the right time? Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you?

    Christmas, in the traditional sense, is not mentioned in nor commanded by the Bible to be recognized nor celebrated. However, the advent of Jesus Christ on this earth does implicitly demand that humanity pause, take special notice, and follow the account of the Christ child from beginning to end in His terrestrial sojourn here. The essential and eternal relevancy of this journey does not begin nor end with the earthly arrival of Jesus Christ as the baby in a manger. This was but a means to a greater purpose – His desired arrival in the hearts of all He came to save through a ministry wrought with adversity, suffering, torture, agony and finally – death on a cross. However, it wasn’t final. Three days later, Jesus’ glorious resurrection as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords gave Him and each one of us victory: Victory over sin…Victory over death!

    Responding to Jesus’ arrival and the fruition of his walk among us is a choice each of us is called on to either accept or reject. Will our hearts be the Bethlehem for the personal birth that He wants us to experience and to celebrate? If Jesus is known to us only as the baby in a manger, then He has become no more to us than a seasonal stranger. The discovery from ‘where are you Christmas’ can be found only by seeking out the ‘who are you Christmas.’ Will our search focus on reviving our commitment to those activities and customs which traditionally characterize and dominate the Christmas holiday, as even the Grinch understood and stole. Or, will it focus first and foremost on the true Author of those qualities which drew humanity and the Grinch himself closer to Christmas.

   God’s search through His only begotten Son lead Him to you and to me. Where will our search lead? By the end of our movie, even the Grinch in his own search came to realize that “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” Yes, indeed it does! He knew then, as you and I and most everyone in Whoville knew: The real Christmas could never be stolen.

    Jesus’ arrival on this tiny little planet was not so much about a time or a place but above all else God’s love, amazing grace, and offer of redemption transcending time and place. Salvation and eternal life offered and payed for by the baby who from the beginning was destined to be the Son of Man, the suffering servant, the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, and the risen Savior who came to earth in search of us first (Luke 19:10). May this truth persevere through the festivities of the season and may it lead us to the true answer of our song’s sincere and timeless question: Where are you Christmas?   

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