Pastoral thought about the Grinch that stole Christmas

Years ago I read an article (I think it was in Christianity Today) about Grinches that will steal Christmas from us. The original though wasn’t mine so I won’t try to burden the original writer with my take on it.

Four Grinches come to mind:

1. The Time Grinch — this is a busy time of the year for most of us. If we aren’t careful we will hurry here and there and arrive at Christmas exhausted. We combat the time Grinch by carving out some time for reflection and remembering the wonderful Gift of his Son that the Lord gave to us so long ago.

2. The Secular Grinch — much of what we do at Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus. There was no Christmas tree at the stable, no colorful lights, and no jolly white bearded gentleman. I’m not against any of those things, but do believe that if we put those things at center stage our Christmas will not be the spiritual event we want it to be.

3. The Spiritual Grinch — the opposite of the Secular Grinch is the Spiritual Grinch. Some people are so “spiritual” and worried about what everyone else is doing that Christmas is, for them, a very frustrating time of the year. They get upset with Walmart for decorating so early and with everyone else who isn’t observing Christmas the way they think they should. Because of that, Christmas is something they endure rather than celebrate.

4. The Ghost of Christmas Past Grinch — (how’s that for mixing Seus and Dickens into one point!) Every year the entertainment industry floods us with the message that Christmas is the time of the year when magical things happen. Unexpected family members manage to make it home, the gift we hardly hoped for shows up under the tree, and everything is just wonderful. The truth is that Christmas or not, life goes on. People still get sick and loose their jobs. Broken relationships probably remain broken. In fact, Christmas tends to bring about depression in many good people. The defense against this Grinch is to remember, and keep remembering, that Christmas isn’t about “warm fuzzies,” instead it is about God’s love for us. In fact, the finest Christmas verse in the Bible may not be specifically about the birth of Christ at all. It may be that John 3:16 says more about Christmas than any other passage.

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