I have a confession to make. When I grow up, I want to be like Cindy-Lou Who from Whoville. When faced with someone stealing one of the symbols of Christmas, her beautiful Christmas tree, she graciously accepted the lie the Grinch told her about the broken light on the tree and went right back to sleep. As much as she loved her tree, she knew that it’s absence wouldn’t stop Christmas from coming.
Over the years, I have heard many discussions about whether Christians should celebrate Christmas. There are debates about timing of Christ’s birth, and the Christmas tree having pagan roots etc. It is not my desire to have a theological discussion about the history of this holiday and it’s origins. I’ll leave that to the heavy intellectuals. Instead, I want to talk about whats right with this picture.
One of the common arguments is that Christmas is too commercial. People shopping for things they don’t need, spending money on things they can’t afford. I think people do that all year long, not just at Christmas. What’s right with this picture is that in the midst of the commercialism, you hear more hymns about Jesus being played in the stores while people of all faiths shop. There is a sense of hope and anticipation of relationship building as people look for just the right gift to encourage a friend or loved one. Sometimes that perfect gift is about healing something that was broken, or maybe helping the relationship to grow stronger. The nervous husband asks, “Do you think my wife will like this”? Mothers of young children swap stories about their children, wondering if a toy is age appropriate. Connections are being made, even if they are just for a moment.
Even after the Grinch stole Christmas, he was astonished to hear the Whos in Whoville still singing,
Fahoo forays, dahoo dorays
Welcome Christmas! Come this way
Fahoo forays, dahoo dorays
Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day
Welcome, welcome, fahoo ramus
Welcome, welcome, dahoo damus
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp…
Every Who in Whoville was singing without any presents at all.
I grew up in a lower middle class family with a single mother where presents were not a given at Christmas time. What I anticipated more than presents was the sense of connection that come with the holidays that strengthened my sometimes fractured family. We came together sharing special meals; telling wonderful old family stories. We laughed and cried and connected heart to heart and hand to hand.
So if you happen to encounter any Grinches this season, just drink a glass of water and rest. Be kind, like Cindy-Lou Who. You may be the one God uses to increase the size of their heart. Because as Christians we know the real message:
Keep singing the Christmas carols and other songs that make your spirit light. Light your homes to create a warm atmosphere of hospitality. People will notice. Some may even slither down the mountain like the Grinch to join you in your celebration. Make them feel welcome! Like the Whos in Whoville.