When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
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.” Matthew 2:3-8 ESV
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:1-5 ESV
The Grinch hated Christmas, and everything about Christmas, so one year he decided to do something about it. Late at night before Christmas morning, while everyone in the village was asleep, he sneaked into all the houses and started stealing everything that the people would use to celebrate Christmas. He stole decorations and gifts and food, and in one house he was starting to stuff the Christmas tree up the chimney when a little girl named Cindy Lou woke up and came out of her bedroom. The Grinch was dressed up as Santa Claus, and Cindy Lou asked, “Santy Clause, why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?” Then the Grinch told a lie. He said that there was a light on the tree that wasn’t working right, and so he was taking it to his shop to fix it and would return it after that. His lie fooled Cindy Lou and hid the real truth, that he was stealing the tree and all the Christmas things from the village.
King Herod was a little like the Grinch. When he heard that the King of the Jews had been born, he was jealous and angry, and the whole city of Jerusalem, where he was ruling, was worried and upset because they knew that the king was very cruel when he got angry. The king asked the religious leaders of the people where the Messiah was to be born, and they told him about the prophecy of Micah, that said that the promised Savior would be born in Bethlehem. But then King Herod told the wise men a lie. He said that he wanted to worship the new king, and he told them to come back and tell him after they had found the baby. The king actually wanted to kill the baby Jesus and get rid of the threat to his throne, but he hid this horrible plan behind a lie.
We all hide our bad thoughts and actions behind lies sometimes. We pretend to be good and righteous, but really inside we’re often mean and jealous and selfish. We might fool other people, and sometimes even ourselves, but we can’t fool God. He knows all the evil thoughts in our hearts, and that’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus came to die on the cross to pay for all of our sins, including the ones no one else knows about. Because of what Jesus has done, we are forgiven every day. Jesus covers our sins with his goodness and holiness, and helps us to live as his people.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to cover our sins. Help us to follow your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Dr. Seuss, Irv Spector, and Bob Ogle (Writers) & Chuck Jones and Ben Washam (Directors). (1966). How the Grinch Stole Christmas! [Television short]. Chuck Jones and Ted Geisel (Producers). New York: Columbia Broadcasting System.