One of my all-time favorite television programs is the annual holiday special about the Grinch who wanted to steal Christmas.
It's one of the best half hours of animation anywhere, from Max the dog's facial expressions to cute little Cindy Lou Who ("who was no more than two") to the conniving Grinch himself, with his magnificently awful smile.
And, of course, Boris Karloff.
Ever since the Frankenstein movies of the 1930s, people have been grooving to this dude's voice.
Is there anyone out there in C-N readerland who doesn't recognize the song lyrics "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch?"
Doesn't "I wouldn't touch you with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole!" rank right up there with "Dashing through the snow?"
The simple but powerful lesson, as the Grinch discovered, is that maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
Christmas does mean more, but it has nothing to do with chestnuts roasting over an open fire, mistletoe, reindeer or even brightly decorated trees.
Christmas provides a close-up look at love, a close-up look at God, a close-up look at that ordinary baby with ordinary skin and an extraordinary way of saying "God is with us."
Christmas teaches us to find love in the ordinary -- infants with their bottles, laughter at the table, the eyes of a child with a favorite toy.
There is nothing threatening about a Nativity scene. Neither is commemorating the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (which fell early this year) or the African-American cultural holiday of Kwanzaa.
A menorah, for example, is a menorah. It should not be referred to as "a holiday candleholder."
In places such as Malaysia, where the majority of people are Muslim, Christmas is a public holiday. Though much of the celebration is commercial and has no overt religious overtone, most everyone is free to celebrate as they choose.
Many who reside there from the Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Bahai faith communities genuinely and sincerely wish everybody else a Merry Christmas.
This may sound unbelievable to some people in America, where political correctness often trumps common sense.
Here in rural northwest Ohio, many of us have dear friends who do not celebrate Christmas. Yet I don't know a single one who becomes upset or offended with the words "Merry Christmas."
Just as those of us of the Christian faith should not be offended with "Happy Holidays," "Happy Hanukkah" or "Don't Let the Light Go Out."
I have a better idea for those ratings-hungry commentators and their largely manufactured and attention-driven "war on Christmas."
Instead of exhibiting your own self-righteousness disguised as Christianity, use your time, energy and financial resources to honor the true spirit of Christmas by feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing the sick and welcoming the stranger.
It is unfortunate, especially during Advent, that the wrong brand of the Christian faith seems to receive the most publicity.
Maybe it's because the nastiness and hatemongering of Scrooge is healthier for ratings or circulation than the compassion of Christ.
Christmas is the story of the birth of a child, born under humble and adverse circumstances.
It's the story of a son born of Jewish parents, which drew the attention of Jewish shepherds and three kings "from the east," -- possibly from Persia, today's largely Islamic Iran.
It's a timeless story of faith, hope and love.
So, without apologies, Merry Christmas to all!