Like many of you, my wife and I have been celebrating the Christmas season by watching those cheesy holiday specials on TV  like Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, and, of course, the Grinch. I’ve noticed something this year, however, that I guess I hadn’t put much thought into in previous years. The major theme on all these specials can be summed up as follows: Christmas is all about the goodness of the human heart. It seems a commendable theme, doesn’t it? And yet it strikes me as one totally contrary to Christian understanding of Christmas

The Grinch is a prime example (even while it is not a direct human example). You know the story: Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot. But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville did not! So after the Grinch steals Christmas he waits to hear all the Whos crying. To his surprise he finds that the Whos aren’t crying, they’re singing and holding hands and rejoicing. The fact is that the Grinch didn’t stop Christmas from coming. It came just the same. In fact, it came without packages, boxes or bags! And as it dawns on the Grinch that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, his heart grows three sizes and he returns all the goodies to Whoville. It’s a marvelous and charming story (and with the voice of Boris Karloff, a treat for the ears). But it does represent the opposite of Christian sentiment during this season.

Contrary to believing in the goodness of the human heart, Christians believe that Christmas is the celebration of that external salvation which all men need because of the wickedness of the human heart. Christmas is about the savior being born to save us all from “Satan’s power” which runs deep in every soul, and makes him subject to God’s judgment.

These specials are right in that they remind us that Christmas doesn’t come frome store (of course this reminder comes in between commercials for Christmas gifts), but they fail to remind us that Christmas isn’t about how great our love is, but in reality how great God’s love is.

I know it’s dangerous to suggest that the Grinch stole Christmas from Christians, but if he has stolen it, then let me urge Christians to steal it back in the name of Jesus!


  1. I would point out that in Charlie Brown, Linus reads the Christmas story pretty much verbatim from the book of Luke. I guess. It’s been a long time since I saw that one—as I was never a fan, as a child, of its skew toward abstraction.

    The Danes last blog post..20081119.ChurchLies

  2. David – This being the second blog I’ve read in as many days lumping Charlie Brown in with the shallow view of Christmas of secular television, and I must protest! Do you really believe, in your heart of hearts, that Christmas is NOT what Linus says it is all about? That Christmas is not about the transformative power of the Son of God coming to earth as a helpless babe to be our Saviour? So that we may see (as the closing song states) “God and sinner reconciled?” You make it sound, from your definition of Christmas, that A Charlie Brown Christmas is exactly what you want in a holiday special. So why be so dismissive of it? Do not be fooled because it is animated and voiced by children – the whole point of the Charlie’s search for the meaning of Christmas is divine, sacrificial love. (Follow the blanket, or follow my discourse on it by hitting the six links at the bottome of this post:

    Rail on against Frosty and Rudolph – but please, for the sake of Heaven, leave good ol’ Charlie Brown out of it.

Comments are now closed for this article.