When Grinches Sing Christmas Carols

Golden bellsBy Shenay Shumake

I am not a Grinch.”  I offer this retort to my accusing self, out loud, breaking the number one rule of sanity.

In my defense, I do love the Holiday Season, as it ushers in the steady flow of family, friends, and food.  These are three of my favorite things.

And yet, I admit, I’m feeling a little “grinchy.”

Now, before you picture me green and with termites in my teeth, you need to know the following: A. I am not green, but a lovely shade of peanut butter; B. my pearly whites are termite free; and C. I won’t be breaking and entering, running around Whoville, yanking Christmas trees through chimneys or stealing the “Who-pudding” from everyone’s fridge.

My “grinchiness”, if you can even call it that, is a stirring in my spirit, and a yearning to live deeper into what this season means for us who call Jesus Christ our Lord.

If my teenagers are reading this, they may be panicking and texting one another, “deeper Christmas – no presents” followed by a series of pitiful looking emojis, perhaps one in my likeness, with horns and a pitch fork.

Before you offer a remedy for my discontentment, be assured that I have crossed over authentically into the joy of knowing what it means to give rather than to receive.  Yet, as I read the words in Matthew 2, I realize that I have neglected to give my best gift to the best Giver.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship him.’”

I read those few words, “…come to worship Him,” and a holy conviction settles over me.

Come to worship Him.”  I read it like an invitation.  I read it like an invocation.  And all of my being wants to worship God.

“Have I come to worship Him?”  I ask myself, my face, hot with tears.  “Come to worship Him.”  Four simple words opened up a fountain in my heart and now the tears flow ceaselessly.  I think of how that army of wise men came to worship Jesus.

For nearly 900 miles they searched for Him, led by a star and a prophecy.  Through changing terrain and changing seasons, laden with their personal provisions and their costly gifts; they set up camp and broke camp, sojourned, pressed and endeavored to the place where the star shone brightly and the promised child King lay.

I think of how I come to worship him.  Just a few mere miles in the car.  A short trip to my living room, an even shorter trip from my bed to the floor on my knees.  Oftentimes, not laden with costly gifts, but laden with my own, costly brokenness.  And yes, I know that He is near me in that; and in this incomprehensible, “God is other,” kind of way, He is attracted to my brokenness.

But, I want to worship Him more often from a well of flowing delight ~ that I have found Him, the One that I have searched for.  That He is here with us, the God of Heaven, Sustainer of Life, Creator of everything, is here with me in this sacred moment.  Here in me, in this jar of clay.  And just like the wise men who found Him were overjoyed to bless Him, opening their treasure to Him I, too, discover the kind of joy released when worship is unattached to my need, or greed.

This gift-giving tradition at Christmas, is not born from a jolly, old man in a red, velvet suit, nor a kind, old saint who cared for the poor.

Instead, we give gifts at Christmas because men who lived in anticipation of a righteous, coming king, followed the star set in the night sky and sought Him to worship Him; opening their treasures, they welcomed Him lavishly.

As Christ followers, we must rebuild our framework to include pressing into God’s presence with the priority to give, not just receive.

What would change in the world if our pursuit became offering costly worship to the King who is beyond any value?

In the hustle and bustle of shopping, nesting and cooking, in the snuggles of your loved ones and friends, while praying for empty parking spaces in filled parking lots, worship Him.

Now I sing this carol with whole new meaning and seek to live it with every breath … “O come, let us adore Him…”



Shenay-150x150About the author:

I am a passionate woman, who is so in love with Jesus, my husband, my children, and my purpose.  Detroit is where I call home and where we lead a congregation of people to Big Life.  I was born to refresh thirsty hearts and inspire people to see life as God sees.  I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  Speaking for even longer.  God has given me beauty for ashes, and life is good.  Not bad for a Black girl from Detroit raised by teenage parents and later a widowed single mom on the east side of town.

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