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Maybe Christmas…is a little bit more

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is one of my absolute favorites in the realm of animated holiday classics.

Oh, last year's "The Grinch" was OKJim Carrey gave a marvelous performancebut it isn't a patch on the original.

The wonderful, brooding voice of Boris Karloff, as the small-hearted Grinch, the excellent animation of Chuck Jones (of Bugs Bunny' fame), the delightful songs-it adds up to a truly entertaining half-hour.

But it's a lot more than that.

This may be the most spiritual, soulful story that never existed about Christmas without containing a single mention of Jesus or his birth.

If you've forgotten or are unfamiliar with this wonderful Dr. Seuss story, let me refresh your memory…

The Grinch, of course, despises Christmas.

He's a shaggy green Scrooge, a miserable, mean-tempered guy and he wants to see everybody else that way, too.

So it really ticks him off to see all those Whos down in Whoville enjoying themselves so much every December, decorating, shopping, eating and opening presents and SINGING, for heaven's sake.

He comes up with a "wonderfully awful idea" to ruin all that happiness. He'll rob them of all the trappings of the holidays, the Christmas trees and wreaths, the Who toys and games and Who roast beast.

What would those idiot Whos have to sing and smile about then?

So he sneaks into the village of Whoville on Christmas Eve and steals all their precious Christmas treasures and treats (he doesn't even leave the poor little mouse a single crumb).

That'll show them, the Grinch thinks-they'll be one miserable bunch!

Christmas morning dawns bright and clear in the village as the Whos file out of their stripped-down houses into the silent streets.

Then comes the sound-but it's not crying, not wailing-it's…singing.

They'recelebrating!

To the utter amazement of the Grinch, Christmas has come to Whoville after all-minus the bags, the boxes and bows, sans trees, sans lights, without a single bite of roast beast.

"Maybe", he ponders, "Christmas doesn't come from a store…maybe, just maybe Christmas is …a little bit more…"

The Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day!

In the decades since Theodore Geisel wrote his classic fable, the holiday has became ever more commercialized.

Christmas decorations are seen in stores before Halloween.

Even Christian merchandisers trumpet "Last Minute Gift Ideas" on the front of catalogs received the day after Thanksgiving.

A jewelry store in one city is using the hymn "Oh Come all Ye Faithful" to hawk tennis bracelets and cluster rings.

So I say we all need a dose of the (original) Grinch to counter this crazy commercialism.

There's nothing wrong at all with gift giving, with decorations and good food and fun during this season.

Jesus himself performed his first miracle at Cana turning the water into wine at a wedding feast.

He taught it is truly blessed to give.

So give this seasonbut not just what you can buy in a store.

Give your talents, time, compassion, forgiveness and love, the most precious of gifts.

Yep, the Grinch thought he stole Christmas.

But he didn't.

He couldn't.

It was ingrained too deeply in those Who' hearts and souls.

I hope it's part of yours, too.

May all our hearts (and none of our backsides) grow three sizes this season!

Happy holidays, to y'all.