The Program. The adult choir and the ensemble group at our church presented a music-filled dessert “theater” Christmas program twice last weekend. With an electric fireplace, a Christmas tree, low ambient lighting, and candle-lit table centerpieces, the mood was festive. Song selections ranged from silly to traditional to inspirational. The evenings ended with carols and a gospel presentation. What the planners didn’t foresee was that the Grinch would upstage Jesus.
The Grinch. Two soloists and the choir sang, You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, while an actor in a Grinch costume roamed among the tables irritating guests at random. Children squealed in delight or cried from fear, depending on their age. Women giggled and men guffawed. Both nights, the Grinch received thunderous applause and young and old alike lined up to have their pictures taken with the green character in the Santa suit during intermission. Choir members lined up to watch the hilarity. Mr. Grinch was so popular, he agreed to make a special appearance at the next choir rehearsal to take pictures!
The Steal. But where was Jesus? Several meaningful and well-loved songs extolled His birth. One received a standing ovation the last night. But the lingering memory is of the Grinch. In this case, he really did steal Christmas. He stole the Christmas program.
The Reasons. As I asked myself why, I realized two things:
- The Grinch costume put a face on the song. As a result, it was the most visual song. Yes, people sang all the songs, and last I checked, we all had faces. But not green ones. It was the unusual visual that grabbed our attention.
- The actor put personality into the song.
The Remedy. In order for Jesus to compete, He needed an attention-grabbing personality and visage. How can Jesus have those things now, so many years after He lived on earth? The same way an imaginary character can. Not in a fake way, like the Grinch, but in our real lives. We give Jesus our faces and personalities. We put Him on when we invite Him into our lives. He animates us both from the inside-out and outside-in. If we live cardboard cut-out, boring lives, that’s the image of Christ we present to the world. But if our walk with the Lord is dynamic and fresh, our friends and co-workers will line up to get in on the excitement. And the curious will line up to watch. Then maybe Jesus will need to make a special appearance to them by popular demand.
Our Resolve. Let’s don’t let anything or anybody upstage Jesus this Christmas.