God sent a guy named John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus. He shouted to everyone who would listen:
The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15)
Repentance is a radical change of heart — doing a 180 from our sin and turning to Jesus. Basically, you express remorse, make restitution and then resolve — with God’s help — not to do it again.
What happens if we don’t repent? Our hearts continue to shrink and stink. In short, we get grinchy. Consider for a moment these words from Dr. Seuss’ classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You’re as cuddly as a cactus,
you’re as charming as an eel.
You’re a bad banana
with a greasy black peel.
You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch.
Your heart’s an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
you’ve got garlic in your soul.
I wouldn’t touch you
with a 39-and-a-half foot pole.
You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch.
You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness
of a seasick crocodile.
Given the choice
between the two of you,
I’d take the seasick crocodile.
You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
You’re a nasty, wasty skunk.
Your heart is full
of unwashed socks,
your soul is full of gunk.
The three words
that best describe you,
are as follows, and I quote:
“Stink. Stank. Stunk.”
I confess. I can get a bit grinchy during the holidays. Sometimes it feels like my heart is at least a couple of sizes too small.
But there’s hope for all of us grinches. In Dr. Seuss’ story, the Grinch was amazed to discover that despite his attempts to stop Christmas, it “came without ribbons, it came without tags, it came without packages, boxes and bags.” He learned a lesson seemingly lost on many of us: “Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more.”
Suddenly, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes bigger. He turned from his grinchy ways. He brought back all the presents he had stolen and every Who down in Whoville forgave him. They gave the Grinch the seat of honor at their Christmas feast and even let him carve the roast beast.
If you’re felling the least bit grinchy as we embark on this Christmas season, ask God to change your heart right now. The time has come. God’s kingdom is near. Repent and believe the good news!
PREPARE YOUR HEARTS
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