For the Grinch, Christmas is saved.  How is Christmas saved for us?

Christmas needs to be rescued!

At least that’s the message that I take away from all of the Christmas shows that I loved as a child, I still love today and now that I watch with my own children.

There’s something about them all.

Christmas is in jeopardy.  In fact, Christmas might not even happen.

Most of those specials involve a reluctant and unexpected hero who must find a way to set things right again.  Because, as we know, Christmas simply must be saved.

There are so many Christmas specials to choose from — all with the same basic premise.  So, let me show you a few and maybe you’ll remember them too.

  • The Grinch Who Stole Christmas introduces us to the Grinch whose heart is two sizes too small.  He wants to take away Christmas from those happy Whos in Whoville.  Can he take their Christmas spirit?
  • In one of my personal favorites, The Year with a Santa Claus, the only way that Christmas can be saved is it to snow in Southtown on Christmas day.  The problem, the miser brothers, Heat and Cold miser stand in the way of a White Christmas.  Will Christmas be lost forever?
  • A bunch of misfits including an elf who wants to be a dentist and a reindeer with abnormally bright nose just don’t feel a part of the Christmas Spirit in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  What will happen to save Christmas?
  • A human who grew up as an elf struggles to connect with his father and help Santa as Christmas spirit around the world fades in the Christmas epic Elf. How will Christmas ever be saved?

In all of those “entertainment” option, Christmas truly needs to be saved and, somehow, some way, it always manages to work out in the end. But what about life here in the “real” world?

Does Christmas really need to be “saved?”

There’s an attack and deaths at a Christmas market.  Places closer to home seek to clean up, rebuild and mourn after the deadly fires in North Carolina and Tennessee. And you wonder, can Christmas still be saved? 

Towns face lawsuits over Christmas displays or whether they can still call them “Christmas” displays.  There’s a debate over whether it is still appropriate to say, “Merry Christmas.”

And you wonder, can Christmas still be saved?

And then there are the personal challenges that come with Christmas every year.  It’s the things we were weren’t prepared for, the illnesses, the bad news.  It’s the time when we can be reminded of those we have lost. And, not every family Christmas dinner or time together is going to make it on a Hallmark Christmas card.

And you wonder, can Christmas still be saved?

Maybe, you’re still feeling the pressure of the holidays and wondering whether you can manage to have the time to pull off your Christmas shopping before Christmas day.  Or, maybe, you are wondering whether you will have any money to be able to pull off gifts for Christmas.

And you wonder, can Christmas still be saved?

Or, maybe you’re just feeling the pressure of trying to create the perfect Christmas and pull over the over-booked Christmas schedule. If you’re honest, you’re fraying at the edges. 

And you wonder, can Christmas still be saved?

Christmas, in a faith sense, is the reminder of the biggest rescue effort in the history of humanity.  It’s when God sends light into the darkness of the world.  It’s the time when God becomes flesh and moves into the neighborhood.  Christmas, it seems, can indeed be saved.

To see that, we turn to the Bible’s Book of Titus.

Titus is a friend and a coworker of Paul.  And this short letter is what Paul writes to Titus to encourage him and to lay out what it looks like to live a life in Christ.  And in this letter, Paul gives these words that have a double-meaning. On one hand, we can read them in light of Easter and the resurrection.  But these same words can also point to what happens in a stable in Bethlehem and how that event is a radical and creation changing moment.

We pick up our reading in Chapter 2, Verse 11:

11 The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.

Christmas isn’t just a story for the insiders.  In fact, the entire point of the rescue that is Christmas is that outsiders can become insiders when it comes to God.   In the first Christmas, the “grace of God” appeared in the form of Jesus bringing salvation, rescue for ALL people.  But there’s more to it than that.  There’s something that this “Grace of God” does for us.

12 It educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly lives and the desires of this world.

The rescue of Christmas helps us to see the possibilities of our lives.  It points us to a way to live in relationship with God.  Christmas saves us from ourselves.

Christmas isn’t just a one-time event.  Jesus was here with us and among us and Jesus will be with us and among us again.  That’s where these last two verses point us.

13 At the same time we wait for the blessed hope (Hope by the way is a confident expectation that God will do what God says he will do) and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.

14 He gave himself for us in order to rescue us from every kind of lawless behavior, and cleanse a special people for himself who are eager to do good actions.

How do we take these words and sum them up in a way that points to the Christmas rescue?  Let’s go with “Christmas is only saved by a savior.”

Savior is one of those words that is used often in Christian circles.  But, what does “savior” really mean?

The idea of a savior appears throughout Scripture. 

  • In the Old Testament, savior generally meant “the source of salvation or deliverance.”  In other words, the savior is the one who rescues.
  • The meaning of savior changes in the New Testament.  It begins to become a title for Jesus.  Angels announce that a “savior’ has been born.  The samaritan woman at the well will hear others tell her that Jesus is truly the savior of the world.
  • There are other words used to describe this savior named Jesus. He is Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one.

And on that first Christmas night, God sent us the only savior capable of rescuing us from ourselves. He can save us from the mess we make of our lives.  He can save us from the trouble we find on our own.  He can save us from the stress and pain and the grief we experience.  He — and he alone — can save us from the darkness we create for ourselves.

Alone, in the dark, a light has come to rescue us all. 

And maybe, just maybe, that’s why those Christmas specials we know and love are so helpful.  A rescue is at the heart of all of those stories.   And, in every rescue story, we see glimpses of the rescue, of the savior, of one who can save us all. Those Christmas specials always point us to the point where Christmas is “saved.” 

  • The Grinch takes away everything from the Whos — including their roast beast.  And yet, on Christmas morning, the Whos gather together and sing a song of Christmas.  The words reach the Grinch and a Christmas miracle occurs.  “And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.” And Christmas was saved.
  • The Miser brothers work together, snow comes to Southtown.  And Christmas was saved.
  • In Rudolph, a lot of misfits find their place at Christmas.  Misfit toys are loved, an elf becomes a dentist and an outcast reindeer gets a chance to lead Santa’s sleigh.  And Christmas was saved.
  • And Buddy the Elf discovers that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing it loud for all to hear. And Christmas was saved.

It reminds me of the words from one of those specials.: “He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!”

And so maybe on this night, we need a reminder, from one of our cartoon friends, who what really happened that day.

Christmas has been saved for us in the real world too.

The first step in a 33-year or so journey that will change the world begins in the most unlikely of places — a stable in Bethlehem, and involves a couple of the most unlikely parents — a couple of scared teenagers named Mary and Joseph.

God launched the greatest rescue in the history of the universe with a baby.  A baby who entered this world in the pain and tears of childbirth and who changed our lives forever with the events that would come on Good Friday and Easter morning.

God has saved Christmas.

Christmas is only saved by a savior.

And the challenge for us, this holiday and everyday, will we let Christmas save us? is based on the idea that every life story can be reignited when we reset it, renew it and redeem it.  You can contact me with ideas, questions or suggestions at or by following me on Twitter at @reignitemystory.