Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - Dec. 19, 2006

Understanding Christmas: When your Heart Grows Three Sizes 
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26     

In Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch suffers from having a small heart. The source of his heart problem is his lack of understanding the meaning of Christmas. As the story goes, the Grinch tries to put a stop to Christmas, but in the end, he comes to understand what Christmas is all about and his heart grows three sizes! This heart change makes a big difference in his life.


I’m not sure what Dr. Seuss’ intentions were when he wrote the story back in 1957, but it certainly comes across as a Christian parable to me that parallels the change that takes place in a person’s life when he or she comes to understand the true meaning of Christmas.  I mean the birth of Jesus, God’s Son, who was born to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). When the light of the Good News of Jesus dawns upon the heart of a person, God replaces the old heart of stone, with a new, fleshy heart – and a new person emerges. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)


I have to chuckle a bit at this notion:  Right there on television every year at Christmastime, in the disguise of a children’s cartoon, is this strikingly Christian parable, about what a true encounter with God does to a person’s life! Ha!


But, it is also an important reminder to Christ-followers that what may be plain to us, is not necessarily plain to others. In the story, the Grinch “endured” Christmas for 53 years, before finally coming to the true understanding of the celebration. Most of us have family and friends who “know” what Christmas is all about, but don’t really understand in their hearts. Year-in and year-out we hope and pray that God will open their hearts to understanding.


Interestingly, Dr. Seuss allows the Grinch to come to his own realization about the meaning of Christmas. He paints a picture of the Whos standing together to celebrate Christmas even when the trappings of Christmas have been taken away. It’s not what the Whos say that opens the door to the Grinch’s understanding of the meaning of Christmas, it’s what the Whos do that makes the difference.


Maybe, that’s the same approach we need to take this Christmastime with those we know and love, but who really don’t “get” Christmas. This year, let everyone see us “Welcome Christmas – While we stand – Heart to heart – And hand in hand.”[1] It might just make all the difference in the world.

[1] How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Copyright © 1957, Dr. Seuss.


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How has understanding the true meaning of Christmas made a difference in your life?


Hebrews 3:12; John 13:35

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