Dr. Theodore Geisel, the real “Dr. Seuss”, wrote this classic Christmas tale after looking at own reflection in a mirror on December 26 and seeing “the Grinch” looking back at him: “I was brushing my teeth on the morning of the 26th of last December when I noted a very Grinchish countenance in the mirror. It was Seuss! Something had gone wrong with Christmas, I realized, or more likely with me. So I wrote the story about my sour friend, the Grinch, to see if I could rediscover something about Christmas that obviously I’d lost.” (December 1957 issue of Redbook magazine).
This wonderful book, first published in 1957, still resonates with us today as we face a holiday that is a very mixed bag of holy and holly! I find the expectations, the increased activity, the spending decisions all conspire against me to rob the season of its joyful celebration of Christ’s entry into earth for our salvation. This year I re-read the Grinch several times and found in it – of all places – the answer to what was wrong with me at Christmastime. In the opening of the story, the Grinch is up on his solitary mountain, looking down, literally and figuratively, on the Whos as they celebrate Christmas with excessive noise, material gifts, food, and singing. I identify most, especially before the holiday, with the Grinch’s protest of the “Noise! Noise ! Noise! Noise!” I begin to crave solitude and the calmer pace of life – including less traffic and crowded stores! Dr Seuss is a master at capturing our Christmastime difficulties: too much feasting, too much materialism, too many parties and social encounters.
But I found my answer on the last three pages of the book: “And what happened then…? Well… in Who-ville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day! And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight, he whizzed with his load through the bright morning light and he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast! And he…. HE HIMSELF…! The Grinch carved the roast beast!”
I am happy to report that my “tight heart” loosened up BEFORE the actual Christmas Day arrived and I saw with great clarity that it is our hearts that matter. Are the things we do, buy, and say at Christmastime coming from LOVE? The heart is the key. How did Theodore Geisel get it so right?
So I wish you all a “Loving” Christmas and “Loving” New Year in 2013!