And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this Child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:16-20
Most of you have seen the TV show, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Many of you may not be aware of the story which this devo has dubbed, "How the Grinch Tried to Steal Christmas from Wadena, Minnesota." That story begins with a large plaster Nativity set which had for many years been set up in the city park by the town council. Then the Grinch showed up in the form of a threatened lawsuit. The Grinch said, "No public group can put up a religious symbol in a public place." With reluctance the city fathers sold the crèche to a group of ministers who moved the display onto private property.
It seemed as if the Grinch had won.
If so, the Grinch underestimated the people of Wadena, Minnesota. Those folks thought the Grinch can steal a public Nativity, but he can't steal mine. Soon Nativities started to show up where Nativities had never been before. They appeared on front lawns and in storefront windows. From all over the country they showed up on the "Wadena Nativity Display" Facebook page, which the community set up. Although nobody did a Nativity head count, it almost seemed as if there were more nativities than there were people in this small town.
But the folks in Whoville ... I mean Wadena ... were still not done yet.
A son of the community, a man who had moved away years before, did a study of the community's laws. He realized that the Nativity-less city park didn't have to stay that way. Wadena's bylaws allowed for individual residents to rent the town band shell for a day.
Soooooooo ... the bandshell got booked by community members. Every day the people who made those reservations came in and set up a great, big Nativity, and every night they took it down and delivered it to the folks who were scheduled to set it up the next day.
Mayor Deiss, who has "eight or nine" Nativities set up in his own home, has said, "I'm really proud of my town. I'm hoping we lit a little spark and the rest of the nation will catch on."
This is why I'm sharing this grinchly story with you.
We can do something or else we can let the Grinch try to steal Christmas from us and our town next year. We've got over 300 days to decide what we're going to do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are always those who wish to silence the story of the Savior who was born to rescue us from our sins. May we be equally ready to proclaim the story of Him who died and rose to win salvation for us. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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