Fend off these thieves who can steal the joy from our celebration of God’s coming to earth.

Things can go terribly wrong with Christmas, so I want to warn you about some of them. It would be a shame for your Christmas to be ruined.

You have heard of the Grinch? You know, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” Well, there isn’t just one, there is a whole tribe of Grinches. I want to tell you about them and how to keep them from stealing your Christmas.

The Time Grinch

We’ll start with the Time Grinch. He is a bad one. He looks at first like a sort of innocent calendar. But if you let him get out of hand, you suddenly look at him one morning and he has dropped all his leaves but one, and developed a leering face and two hands that are racing round and round, and he is muttering, “Tick, tick, tick …” What can we do to keep the Time Grinch from stealing Christmas? First, we have to deal in reality. We have to stop and ask ourselves and our families just how important all the cards, all the parties, all the decorating, all the gift making and buying are, and why we are doing all these things.

There are other things that we may not take the time to do. For example, we may not find time to read some of the glorious Christmas poetry. Families may miss the profound delights of sharing quiet evenings of Christmas read-alouds or Christmas music. Our children adored the Christmas books and records we brought out each year, and they especially enjoyed a Christmas story that their father always read aloud to them.

The Secular Grinch

Then there is the Secular Grinch. I know exactly what this one looks like: he is an inflatable Santa Claus, nine feet tall, on a skateboard made of credit cards. He arrives right after Halloween.

No one ever loved fairy ...

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