Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated a Christmas story that is much beloved. Our family watches it every year. It is How the Grinch stole Christmas and the main character, the Grinch, just hates Christmas. He is most annoyed by the people living in the village below his mountain top retreat. Unable to go through another holiday of cheer and good will he decides to sneak down the mountain on Christmas Eve and steal every bit of their holiday decorations, food and presents.
Dr. Seuss writes that no one quite knows the reason the Grinch has withdrawn from society. Maybe his shoes are too tight or his head isn't screwed on just right. But most likely it was because his heart was two sizes too small. Whatever the reason there must be some spark of goodness within because his companion is his faithful dog, Max.
The Grinch is successful in loading all of their Christmas onto his sleigh and pauses, before he is going to dump off the mountain top, to listen to them waking up and finding it all gone. He is waiting for crying and misery. What he hears instead is singing. They have joined, hand and hand, and welcomed Christmas with gratitude and joy.
Slowly it dawns on him that Christmas is not about those material things at all. It is all about love. His shriveled heart grows several sizes and he returns everything. In fact, he joins them in their feast. It is a wonderful story of redemption.
This story has touched so many people over the years that the Grinch has become a symbol of someone who pooh poohs Christmas, going around with a frown and trying to spoil it for everyone else. We've all heard Grinch-like people bemoaning the commercialization of the holiday, the endless shopping, baking, parties. Most of those people are basically unhappy and instead of changing their thought, they want to bring everyone down to their level of misery.
If there is a Grinch is your work place, in your family, driving near you on the road, in line at the store...be more like those who gathered to welcome Christmas. We do not know what unhappiness has made them the way they are but a little warmth may just melt some of that frost. A kind word or a smile goes a long way.
As you pray during this holiday season, be sure to include everyone. Affirm that no one is left out of God's love and care. Everyone is loved, loving and lovable. Bestow the joy of the season. Let it beam out of your face. Revel in the knowledge that you are the beloved child of God, a God who loves you so much He sent His own son to bless and heal mankind.
Beware of Grinch-like behavior and conversation.
If you encounter a Grinch, share your love of the season.
Remember that we are all one family.