I love Christmas season and I also love the Grinch story by Dr. Seuss. I started loving it even more after having my kiddos. (My wife also tells me I can be a Grinch when the house gets a little dirtier than I like, but that’s another story.)
We all know the story: the Grinch is a bitter, grouchy, cave-dwelling hermit living with a heart “two-sizes-too-small” and his only companion being his unloved, but loyal dog, Max. He resides on Mount Crumpit, a steep, high mountain just north of the town of Whoville, home of the ever-merry and warm-hearted Whos. From his cave, the Grinch begrudgingly listens to the “noise, noise, noise” of the Christmas festivities that take place every year in Whoville. Continuously annoyed at their eternal happiness and Christmas cheer, he devises and executes a wicked scheme to steal their presents, trees, and food for their Christmas feast.
The Grinch is a lawbreaker.
Similar to the Grinch, the book of Matthew also tells of lawbreakers. But these actually appear in a peculiar place – the genealogy of Jesus. Interestingly, several (though not all by any means) of these non-law-abiding characters are women and it’s important to highlight that Middle Eastern genealogies are supposed to be lists of men only.
Let’s start with Jacob. He disguised as Esau in order to receive his father’s blessing (Genesis 25). Tamar. She broke the law by arranging a way to have child with her father- in-law, Judah (Genesis 38-1:30). Judah. He broke the law by not keeping the promise he said to Tamar. Rahab was a Gentile, prostitute, liar, and lawbreaker (Joshua 2). Ruth was a Gentile and a social and religious rule-breaker (Ruth 3). David. He stole Uriah’s wife and killed him. Bathsheba was unfaithful to her husband, and possibly a Gentile (2 Samuel 11).
The genealogy of the very Son of God, the Savior of the world, was one of what the world would disregard and label as law-breakers.
As we continue to look at Jesus’ lineage (and yet another parallel to the Grinch), we also see that many of those characters are not people of wealth. The genealogy of Jesus ends with Mary, a lowly teenage peasant girl. Her husband, Joseph, a carpenter, was persecuted by his friends and family members for accepting a woman they would call a law-breaker and what they believed to be her “bastard” child. Joseph and Mary were simple, poor migrants seeking a refuge anywhere they could find; a safe place to rest and live escaping from a dictator who ordered all children to be killed. Joseph and Mary were also fleeing corruption, violations of their civil rights, and other issues that threatened their ability to live and raise their child in peace. It reminds me of the migrants of poorer nations that seek better living conditions in first-world countries at present.
But God, in His goodness, invades the scene – one laden with law-breakers, the marginalized, the bitter, and the poor. Solitary, angry, often vengeful creatures, like the Grinch, carrying the brokenness of an orphan desperate for the love of a Father.
K.E. Bailey (2008)1 points out that God chooses to be around women and men, both saints and sinners, Jews and Gentiles…that those are the kinds of people that the Messiah came to save. In short, Jesus came to save the many “Grinches” in the world. The main Messiah came for us ALL!
This is the story of Christmas demonstrates the solidarity of God. He knew our condition, our sufferings, our cries under the weight of our wrongdoings. So in His great compassion, he voluntarily chose to be one of us, a human being who offered Himself to us and for us.
Christmas reminds us that God is not indifferent to our condition. He cares! The solidarity of a loving Father demonstrated by the birth of Jesus that came to bring everyone His grace and love, inspire us to promote actions of solidarity that change lives in a broken world to rediscover and experience His love.
Like the Grinch, after spending all night stealing from the houses of Whoville, the Grinch travels back to the top of Mount Crumpit, with the single-minded intent of dumping all of the Christmas decorations, gifts (and of course, Roast Beast) into the abyss. As dawn arrives, the Grinch expects the people in Whoville to emit bitter and sorrowful cries, but he is perplexed to hear them singing a joyous Christmas song instead. He is puzzled until it dawns on him that “maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more” than just presents and feasting. The Grinch’s shrunken heart suddenly grows three sizes.
This is what Jesus does in our hearts – He transforms it, grows our love and compassion so we can be different people. People who cares about other people. People who have the courage to change the status quo like Jacob, Tamar, Judah, Rahab, Ruth, David, Bathsheba, and Mary and ended up in Jesus’ Genealogy: an unusual situation for that time in that culture.
As I reflect on all of this, I see a Jesus who came to save all because all humans are equal before God. God is no respecter of persons – nobody is exempt from the privilege of salvation and the transformative power of his love and acceptance that ensues. Jesus didn’t see some human beings better than others. Jesus came for all and saw and sees all humans as equally loved children who He longs to have a deep relationship with: the Republican and the Democrat, the citizen and the undocumented immigrant, the black, the native American, the Latino, the Asian and the white, the elderly and the child, the married, and the single.
As we approach Christmas, I hope we all reflect on how Jesus came for all equally and hope we can change our hearts and show this Jesus for all in the same manner.
 Bailey, K. E. (2008). Jesus through Middle Eastern eyes: Cultural studies in the gospels. InterVarsity Press.
 Matthew 2:13-15