A few minutes before my alarm went off, I woke up to a phone call saying schools are closed today due to icy rain and slippery road conditions. It was a perfect day to snuggle up on the couch and watch the Grinch Who Stole Christmas movie. I am a fan of the original, however my kids like the cartoon version that came out last year, because it has more details and fun gadgets. Who knew? Some critics do not like the version from last year, because the Grinch is not as mean. In last year’s version, the Grinch grew up in an orphanage and spent Christmas all alone, which explains why Christmas was not his favorite holiday. In the end, the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes, and he embraces the joy of Christmas.
We all have ups and downs in life. Each day, we can choose to focus on the good or get consumed by the not so perfectness of this life. The Grinch really went down a sour path. He lived alone, away from people. He secluded himself and let the anger fester inside of him, until he did the unthinkable. He tried to steal Christmas. The Whos in Whoville still sang. This cartoon packs a big message. Christmas is about more than presents. I love presents at Christmas, but it is a good reminder to remember the meaning of Christmas.
The light of God cannot be stolen. It is not ours to steal, but we can grow and prosper in God’s light.
I admit that I can get consumed by the not so perfect things in life or dwell on past mistakes. I have to change each day and focus on God and all of God’s goodness. I think about the story of Joseph sometimes. Joseph was faced with life threatening obstacles and responded with God’s grace and mercy.
Joseph’s father loved him and favored his 11th son. He made him a coat of many colors, which infuriated his brothers. Joseph’s brothers hated him and could not utter a nice word about him.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.
–Genesis 37:3-4 (NKJV)
Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him. They didn’t want to shed blood, so they stripped off the bright, colorful tunic and threw him in a pit to die. Wow, talk about sibling rivalry. This takes it to whole new levels of jealousy and anger.
So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
–Genesis 37:23-24 (NKJV)
Joseph’s brothers pondered killing him, and then decided to sell him. They sold him to traders for silver, who took him as a slave to Egypt. Nice, huh? Then, they went back to their father with Jospeh’s tunic covered in goat’s blood. Their father assumed that Joseph was killed by a wild animal and mourned him.
So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
–Genesis 37:26-28 (NKJV)
The story didn’t end there, it just began. Through the power of God, Joseph rose in power next only to the Pharaoh in Egypt. Only through the power of God can one be sold into slavery by his brothers and rise up in power next to the Pharaoh of Egypt. There was a great famine, and Joseph’s brothers and father traveled to Egypt to beg for food. They didn’t recognize Joseph, although he recognized them.
After some back and forth between the brothers that sold him into slavery, Joseph decides what to do with brothers. His brothers were afraid that Joseph would treat them, as they treated him and repay them with evil. They begged him for forgiveness.
Joseph’s response is filled with God’s grace. God is not about revenge or repaying evil with evil. God is good. Joseph tells them that they meant evil against him, but God meant it for good. Jospeh told them not to be afraid, he would provide for them and their little ones. The response is a Godly one. No matter what we do, God forgives us. God welcomes us back and takes care of us. Only God has that goodness and grace.
Joseph Reassures His Brothers
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ’Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”
Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
–Genesis 50:15-21 (NKJV)
Whatever is going in on in my life, Joseph’s story reminds me to look for God’s goodness. It is all around me. God can turn evil into good. It may not reveal itself until much later, or not at all, but God may bless me with a few glimpses into the goodness of his plan to encourage me along the way.