Pastor’s Page December 2022
“The Heart That Grew Three Sizes”
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.
I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Every year, pastors approach the Advent Season with a competing sense of joy and dread. Joyful to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the traditions surrounding Christmas. But there is a sense of dread in how the season will be celebrated. What will the theme of the season be this year? What new can be brought to the familiar stories? How can we keep this season fresh?
Many pastors search publishers’ websites for something new. At least, that’s what this pastor does. And this year I was happy to find an Advent curriculum that is very different, very new, very fresh: “The Heart That Grew Three Sizes: Finding Faith in the Story of the Grinch.”
Yes, it’s an Advent Devotional based on Dr. Suess’s classic children’s tale: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Matt Rawle is the Lead Pastor at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana. He is an international speaker who specializes in the intersection between pop culture and the Church. And he has written this devotional with a desire for Christians to recapture the true meaning of Advent and Christmas.
We don’t know why the Grinch hated Christmas. We just know he did. Rawle explores the faith themes in the story of the Grinch, including why the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes on Christmas morning. Rawle asks the question: Could it be that the very thing we hate is the one thing that changes our lives?
Each Sunday, we’ll explore a different theme. On 11/27, we’ll focus on how expectations affect our attitude; on 12/4, we’ll explore the interplay between peace and hope; on 12/11, we’ll discuss different interpretations of light at Advent; and on 12/18, we’ll focus on hos reconciliation brings joy. On Christmas Eve, 12/24, we’ll have a combined service and ask the question: Who’s a Grinch? And because Christmas Day is on a Sunday this year, we’ll be taking that day off, in order to allow families to be together and our hard-working staff to be with their families.
The great thing about this curriculum is that it has leaders’ guides for children, youth and adults. Not only does it have suggestions for a sermon series, but it has a study guide for adult Bible study with accompanying DVD that we will use on Thursdays for the Pastors Bible Study. The one frustrating thing for this pastor was that try as I might to find an English/Spanish bilingual curriculum, I could only find one, and it’s the one we did a few years ago. There’s just not a lot of bilingual Advent devotionals out there.
Overall, I’m excited for this Advent and Christmas season, as we look at a familiar classic story through the lens of faith and see how Christ speaks to us through our culture. Rediscover the gift of Advent that comes without packages, ribbons and bows. Join us this Advent Season!
I remain yours in Christ’s Love and Service,