How Christmas saved a ‘grinch’

Besides getting an electric train, a gigantic teddy bear, and a “Sneaky Pete” magic set, the thing I remember most about Christmas as a kid was the spirit of the whole season.

It usually started sometime around the Macy’s Parade and lasted until the final needle fell from the tree. For about six weeks, I would experience real joy and excitement and even a sense of genuine love.

Then in my junior year of high school, come Thanksgiving time, I didn’t notice any change. K-Mart’s decorations had been up since October, the Sunday school program was history, the Advent candles were burned to stubs, and all the angel hair was finally vacuumed up. But I hadn’t felt any change!

Gasp! Had I become a Scrooge at the tender age of 16? The next season became a “Ghost of Christmas Past” and still no change.

Then it dawned on me, as if I had finally found the burned out bulb on a string of lights. I had been a professing Christian all my life. (I remember, at 8 years old, asking Jesus into my life while hiding under my roll-top desk during a lightning storm.) But that was about the extent of my spiritual journey—exact same lifestyle, exact same attitudes, and no real Bible reading or prayer life.

In my junior year, I decided to give God 100 percent of my messed up life. What a change! Real joy, real peace, real excitement that God was actually working with me to create a loving person.

No Grinch had stolen my Christmas. I now had the joy and love of Christ—and Christmas—all year round!

Copyright © 1982 James N. Watkins

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The Twelve Sites of Christmas

Graphic from How the Grinch Stole Christmas television special from 1966.

Wishing you a very meaningful Christmas season!