It’s Christmas Eve. All your shopping better be done by now…mine is. Fortunately, I don’t have many people to buy stuff for (or is that unfortunate?). Anyways, Melissa, a fellow blogger in the blogosphere (I like that word), wrote an excellent post inspired by the holiday madness. After I read it, I proclaimed it as “the bastard love-child of Dr. Seuss and C.S. Lewis”—and Melissa agreed with my description. (I also really like the phrase “bastard love-child,” especially when I come across it in otherwise serious book/movie/music reviews.) This is her lovely story, titled “How the Wench Stole Christmas”:
It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags! He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more….
I remember the first time I saw the Grinch get an awful idea. His Grinchy wonderful, awful idea. His smile grew and grew and grew until he should have run out of a face, but his face held a trace of a smile that made me brace, brace, brace, brace.
As a little girl, I thought he was just awful, stealing those poor Who presents, making their Christmas as empty as a Who peasant’s. But as I grew older, and wiser, and grim, I sort of made a anti-Who-shopping hero out of him.
That grinch who hated material wealth, who despised bee-bobs and doodads, and empty wishes for good health. The grinch became a hero, a green man in tights, who boycotted Who darkness by putting out their lights.
I hoo-rahed and hoorayed and snipped my own debt cards, feeling somehow more righteous for judging those Who-hearts.
And what happened then? Well, I grew up some more – and I realized something I’d never quite realized before. While Whos like to shop, like to shop til they drop, like to head to the store and hop hop hop hop. Deep down inside, I think most Whos will tell you, that Christmas is not about what the department store sells you. I believe that we Who-mans are not as dark as some naysayers say, but still largely believe in the Spirit of the day. There is an old saying, as old as the sun, about inner battles, since time was first spun. About lights shining in darkness, just like Old Tannenbaum’s, and giving, not getting, being second to none.
But I think in the stink of the inner cesspool of man, the lights sometimes go out, though that isn’t our plan. We Whos find ourselves working – working ever so hard – and in working, working, working, we forget the first part. We forget why we gift-wrap gifts in our houses, why we open our doors and even give cheese to the mouses. We forget Who first gave, and then gave some more, not out of His debt, but out of His store. While we Whos frantically try to honor his rule, that we love our family, our neighbors, and even the fool, we forget the Rulemaker in the midst of our Yule.
In our effort to serve, we go overboard, we sink in our own goodness, and become what we deplored. We buy what’s not needed – we buy what chains – we buy things for others so that our own identity gains. We buy for those who can likewise return, and then they buy us back so that we don’t feel spurned. On and on the buying goes so that no one remembers the end of their nose, or the simple cheer that came from a Christmas that snows.
But if we should wake and find the baubles gone, I believe man, in his better parts, would go on. Whether eventually, or at the first, I believe his hands would clasp those beside him, whether or not a gift was inside them – that he would welcome to this meeker feast, even the smallest in line to share the roast beast. I believe when you meet man, he can be angel or demon, and what he becomes may hinge on how you greet him. The war is inside, though Christmas is without; we may put out our own light, but the Star of Christmas will never go out.
Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand. ~ the incomparable Dr. Seuss
Song of the Day (follow link to download page):