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by: Chris Kaufman

12/23/2020

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Growing up my favorite Christmas movie was "The Muppets Christmas Carol". I loved the tale of the old groutch Ebenizer Scrouge learning to love his neighbors and community through ghost time travel adventures, sure, what kid wouldn't. But most of all, I loved the songs the Muppets Christmas Carol created. 

In fact, it wasn't just my favortie Christmas movie growing up either. My younger brother loved the movie just as much as I did, so much so, that we memorized every song and started a Muppets Christmas Carol cover band called "The November Promise" which featured me on guitar and him on french horn. It was atrocious. 

But for as much as I loved that movie and getting to watch it every year with my family, I was a Scrouge myself. To this day I get a little grumpy around Christmas because growing up the son of a pastor meant I was constantly working or helping put on big Christmas events. To top it off, my parents loved to decorate for Christmas, and it was something that I could never get into. I still give my wife a hard time every year about helping to decorate and watching Christmas movies, and I can't really tell you a good reason for it, other than I just tire of Christmas pretty quickly every year.

Again, I'm not alone in that feeling. The older I get the more folks I meet who really just don't care that much for Christmas. Or worse, Christmas brings up painful memories of loved ones no longer with them or imperfect childhoods with abesnt families. To put it plainly, a lot of people have a lot better reasons to not like Christmas than me. 

If you're reading this today and you feel like a Scrouge this holiday, let me tell you that those feelings are totally okay. Setting aside just the insanity of 2020, there are a dozen reasons not to feel jolly this holiday, and you are far from the only one. 

I truly believe Christan's often give themselves to hard a time. As a pastor, I want to give you a hall pass this year if your Christmas is feeling blue, and I'd like to offer you some hope too. 

Brother Lawrence, a monk from the 15th century, used to beat himself up too for not feeling spiritually good all the time. But he came to this interesting relization about the Christian faith: "I regard myself as the most wretched of all men, stinking and covered with sores, and as one who has committed all sorts of crimes against his King. Overcome by remorse, I confess all my wickedness to Him, ask His pardon and abandon myself entirely to Him to do with as He will. But this King, filled with goodness and mercy, far from chastising me, lovingly embraces me, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the keys of His treasures and treats me as His favorite. He talks with me and is delighted with me in a thousand and one ways; He forgives me and relieves me of my principle bad habits without talking about them; I beg Him to make me according to His heart and always the more weak and despicable I see myself to be, the more beloved I am of God."

Please, don't beat yourself up for being a Scrouge this holiday season. There is nothing wrong with you, and the great news is that no matter how you are feeling Christ still loves you and still came down from Heaven to be Emmanuel, or God with us. As the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8! "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". And no matter what you've done, I gurentee it can't be worse than an all Muppets Christmas Carol band called "The November Promise".

Growing up my favorite Christmas movie was "The Muppets Christmas Carol". I loved the tale of the old groutch Ebenizer Scrouge learning to love his neighbors and community through ghost time travel adventures, sure, what kid wouldn't. But most of all, I loved the songs the Muppets Christmas Carol created. 

In fact, it wasn't just my favortie Christmas movie growing up either. My younger brother loved the movie just as much as I did, so much so, that we memorized every song and started a Muppets Christmas Carol cover band called "The November Promise" which featured me on guitar and him on french horn. It was atrocious. 

But for as much as I loved that movie and getting to watch it every year with my family, I was a Scrouge myself. To this day I get a little grumpy around Christmas because growing up the son of a pastor meant I was constantly working or helping put on big Christmas events. To top it off, my parents loved to decorate for Christmas, and it was something that I could never get into. I still give my wife a hard time every year about helping to decorate and watching Christmas movies, and I can't really tell you a good reason for it, other than I just tire of Christmas pretty quickly every year.

Again, I'm not alone in that feeling. The older I get the more folks I meet who really just don't care that much for Christmas. Or worse, Christmas brings up painful memories of loved ones no longer with them or imperfect childhoods with abesnt families. To put it plainly, a lot of people have a lot better reasons to not like Christmas than me. 

If you're reading this today and you feel like a Scrouge this holiday, let me tell you that those feelings are totally okay. Setting aside just the insanity of 2020, there are a dozen reasons not to feel jolly this holiday, and you are far from the only one. 

I truly believe Christan's often give themselves to hard a time. As a pastor, I want to give you a hall pass this year if your Christmas is feeling blue, and I'd like to offer you some hope too. 

Brother Lawrence, a monk from the 15th century, used to beat himself up too for not feeling spiritually good all the time. But he came to this interesting relization about the Christian faith: "I regard myself as the most wretched of all men, stinking and covered with sores, and as one who has committed all sorts of crimes against his King. Overcome by remorse, I confess all my wickedness to Him, ask His pardon and abandon myself entirely to Him to do with as He will. But this King, filled with goodness and mercy, far from chastising me, lovingly embraces me, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the keys of His treasures and treats me as His favorite. He talks with me and is delighted with me in a thousand and one ways; He forgives me and relieves me of my principle bad habits without talking about them; I beg Him to make me according to His heart and always the more weak and despicable I see myself to be, the more beloved I am of God."

Please, don't beat yourself up for being a Scrouge this holiday season. There is nothing wrong with you, and the great news is that no matter how you are feeling Christ still loves you and still came down from Heaven to be Emmanuel, or God with us. As the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8! "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". And no matter what you've done, I gurentee it can't be worse than an all Muppets Christmas Carol band called "The November Promise".

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