Christian the Grouch
It probably says something about me that my favorite Sesame Street character growing up was Oscar the Grouch. I even dressed as him for Halloween one year. Living in a garbage can looked fun, I admit, but I really had to admire someone who was so openly grumpy.
That's why I became a pastor.
(That's a joke.)
In vacation Bible school one year, a song of ours was "The Grumpy Christian Song." It boils down to "Christians aren't grumpy; they say 'Hallelujah!'." (You can find it on YouTube here.) While all Christians are always free to grieve, to lament, to "anger but sin not," the song nevertheless has a point. As children of God saved by a crucified and risen Lord, we shouldn't be a grumpy people. We are not complainers or whiners. We're not irritable or cranky. We're just not Christian the Grouch.
1 Peter 1:8 says all who believe in Jesus "are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy," or, if you prefer the King James here (as I do), "joy unspeakable." I love that this comes at the beginning of 1 Peter because the rest of the book is about the reality of suffering and persecution. Even though "Satan should buffet and trials should come," even though the spirit of anti-Christ looms large in our society, we still have incredible joy. Even though we locked ourselves out of our car again, the baby's kept us awake all night for the third time this week, and the bills are past due, we have a joy which goes beyond all words. That's the power of the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.
When you're tempted to be a grump, say hallelujah instead. Ditch the trash can apartment for the glorious kingdom of God.