The Grinch Within


When I was a girl, the sight of Little Cindy Lou Who’s eyes brimming with tears on Christmas Eve as she watched the Grinch stuffing the family’s fully-festooned tree up the chimney made me weep. I think that Grinch was the first “person” I ever hated with a passion. So cruel to try to steal Christmas from a little family!

But it just hit me today that–without realizing it–I think I’ve been encouraging my own “Inner Grinch” in his miserly ways. I’ve noticed that, as I feel Christmas inching closer and closer, I’ve been getting more and more anxious. So what’s that all about?

I think maybe it has something to do with the now-familiar mantra I seem bent on repeating: “What’s this birthday…vacation…Thanksgiving…Christmas going to be like without Steve?” “How sad, surreal, lonely, empty, or just plain different will it feel in our now-minitiarized family?” Do you notice any pattern here? From where I sit, with my heels firmly dug in and resisting with all my might moving into the upcoming holiday, the majority of my assumptions are that Christmas without Steve cannot really be anything but sad. So I begin bracing for this anticipated holiday tsunami of grief. Hmmm… Then it occurs to me that those are awfully Grinchy thoughts. In fact, I feel quite certain The Grinch puts another feather in his ugly cap every time I think one of those thoughts. Because each time I do, I let him steal my joy.

So I’ve made a bold decision. I’m evicting the filthy, foul-breathed, gluttonous, greedy *&*%$#% right now. He’s gonna’ have to go find some other family to bully. I’m going to put on my haz mat suit and clean all of his garbage out of the room he occupied in my heart. Then once I have it sanitizied and ready to go, I’m inviting some good old truth and hope to settle in there and make themselves quite comfortable. These are the kind of houseguests we all should have: positive, faithful, present. And we’re going to spend a lot of time together because they have much to teach me.

As I write this, they’re busy redecorating that room. And when I take a peek in there, I can see just how magical they are because they’re actually transforming it into the kind of place anyone would want to live.

So this Christmas we will enjoy and celebrate all that we do have: health, a cozy home, better friends than anybody has a right to have, a complex, yet resilient faith, and our little family. It’s a changed family, for sure, but it’s still a family–a home for love.

So there, Mr. Grinch! You will not steal this family’s Christmas spirit. In fact, if you look carefully at about sunrise on Christmas morning, I’m sure you will see our little circle, with truth and hope leading the singing up on a nearby grassy knoll. I hope the words carry to where you are. “Ya Hoo Doray, Ya Hoo Doray… Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day.”