Summary: Dr. Suess’s story provides a background to re-thinking the real message of Christmas.

Christmas According to Grinch: Claiming Your Christmas Gift

John 1:9-13

Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO

Christmas is about gifts—giving and receiving. Did you ever loose a gift tag? The tree is surrounded with piles of neatly wrapped gifts. Each has a tag with the recipient clearly marked and the giver appropriately noted. But somehow something goes awry. When all of the gifts are passed out, one lonely present remains. The problem no tag. Maybe it was the dog. Or ornery cousin Billy did it. Nobody knows. But you just can’t leave a gift unclaimed. I want to make sure you don’t leave any gift unclaimed.

But first I want to make sure none of us forget the difference between THE GIFT and the other gifts. This is where the meaning of Christmas is about. That is what the Grinch had to learn. You know what happened in Whoville—the story upon which the popular Jim Carrey movie is based.

Everyone who lived down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot,

But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville did not!

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!

Now, please don’t ask why. No one inquired the reason.

It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.

It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all

May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,

He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,

Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinch frown

at the warm lighted windows below in the town.

For he knew every Who down in Whoville beneath

Was busy now hanging a mistletoe wreath.

And they’re hanging their stockings, he said with a sneer

Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!

Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,

I must find some way to stop Christmas from coming.

Despite what some may think that wasn’t the beginning of the Christmas story. But Dr. Suess’s tale does remind us that maybe not everyone appreciates Christmas. Some may not get it!! Did you hear it in our text. John 1:5 said, {5} The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” Verses ten and eleven add, "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. {11} He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Like the Grinch in Dr. Suess’s story, some think that Christmas is all about the gifts and toys. Do you know anyone like that? Any children for whom Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without toys? Any adults for whom the reason for the season is measured in tinsel and dollar signs.

I not against presents and toys, for children or adults. In fact, I grew up the only grandchild on one side of my family for a few years. I still remember the haul I took home from the family gathering at Grandpa and Grandma Thomas’s. But it is more than that, isn’t it? It is important that we make that clear to our families. We would do well to be more like the Whos.

Do you remember that the Grinch thought he could steal Christmas from the Whos by taking all of their presents? But he was in for a surprise!

It was a quarter past dawn; all the Whos still in bed,

All Whos, still a-snooze when he packed up his sled,

Packed it up with their presents, The ribbons! The wrappings!

The tag! And the tinsel! The Trimmings! The trappings!

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt Crimpit,

He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!

Pooh-pooh on the Whos! He was grinchishly humming.

They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!

They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!

Their mouths will hang open a minute or two.

Then the whose down in Whoville will all cry Boo-Hoo!

That’s a noise, grinned the Grinch, that I simply must hear.

So he paused, and the Grinch put his hand to his ear.

And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.

It started in low. Then it started to grow.

But the sound wasn’t sad! Why this sound sounded merry!

It couldn’t be so! But it was merry! Very!

He stared down at Who-ville! The Grinch popped his eyes!

Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,

was singing! Without any present at all!

He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming, It came,

Somehow or other, it came just the same!

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