It was an unusual interview. The woman explained she was writing an article for a national magazine on clever ways to put more joy into the holidays.
So I proceeded to pitch to her one marvelous holiday cost-cutting idea after another. And one after another, my ideas landed with a thud. She didn’t like them at all. That’s when she made a comment that effectively brought the interview to a screeching halt.
She called me a grinch.
Now she didn’t actually come right out and say, “You Grinch!” She suggested my ideas would take all the fun and joy out of the season. She assured me it was nothing personal but still, she called me a grinch.
Not being one who can easily let things go, I had to find out if what she suggested about me was in any way true. In my zeal to encourage people to take back control of Christmas from the locked jaws of commercialism, had I taken on a striking resemblance to that holiday grump, the Grinch?
I was quite certain I knew where to find out. And sure enough, right there on the shelf between Horton Hears a Who and Hunches in Bunches I found it—that familiar bright red storybook: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
“The Grinch hated Christmas. The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.”
The Grinch an ornery old soul with a heart two sizes too small—detests the holiday celebrations down in Who-ville. He hates the singing, the celebrating—all that noise, noise, noise, noise! So he devises a great Grinchy trick to get rid of Christmas forever. He steals all the presents, the ribbons, the wrappings; the tags, and the tinsel, the trimmings—the trappings!
He hauls all the loot to the top of Mt. Crumpit where in a huge fit of glee he proceeds to—you guessed it—dump it!
There! His task is complete. He’s taken care of Christmas once and for all. All the noise of the fun, all the joy and the love—even the smallest hint of the season is gone forever.
But what’s that sound? It’s not sobbing, but singing! The Whos began celebrating with no presents at all. The Grinch couldn’t stop it, Christmas came just the same. It came without packages, boxes and bags.
I sat there recalling why I love this story so much. And I admit it, I felt delightfully smug. That writer was way off base. I’m not the grinch in her story. I didn’t steal the joy. Her grinches are consumerism, overindulgence and overdoing—the attitudes that insist Christmas is something we can find in a store, mail order catalog or the Internet.
If you’ve noticed the joy of the season is missing from your life maybe those grinches are to blame. Maybe it’s time to let them know they’ve lost their power.
Authentic joy comes not from all the outside trappings, but from our hearts; from the story of the birth of a small baby who would become our Savior—from that love, that can fill our lives with giddy joy.
So let the singing begin!
QUESTION: What is your plan to overcome your Christmas grinches? Let’s share ideas here.