In our house, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of our favorite Christmas stories. I grew up watching the animated movie every Christmas, and I still sing "You're a bad one, Mr. Grinch" with rare enthusiasm. So when we bought the Dr. Seuss book, it filled me with warm fuzzies.
Dr. Seuss has a way of bringing out deeper thoughts in his children's tales, and as I read the book to my son for the thousandth time, something struck me anew:
"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, 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."
~How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Christmas is a Christian holiday, but it's been taken over by the secular world with ease. Christmas is a glorious, sparkly, light-filled holiday, celebrated with gift-buying and huge feasts. It has become more about marketing and sales power than anything else, but underneath all the glitz and tinsel, there is a truth that can't be avoided. Christmas, whether you're celebrating it as a Christian or as a secular holiday, has a spirit beyond the trappings, beyond the store-bought decor.
Other cultures have festivals of lights. I'm reminded of Divali, an Indian festival that I learned to celebrate with friends in university. Human beings, no matter where they reside or what religion or non-religion they are affiliated with, long for light—pinpricks of hope in darkness.
Where there is light there is hope. Christmas trees, Divali lights, strings of multi-colored bulbs that ring the outside of houses, Chanukah candles... And for those of us who are Christian, we think of the birth of the Light of the World. A tiny, flickering flame that came in the form of a newborn baby, heralded by glowing angels and the light of a mysterious star.
You can take away my ribbons, tinsel and tags, but Christmas is still about the night that God bent low and touched this planet, setting it ablaze with Hope. Is it any wonder that we feast, feast, feast, feast?
Merry Christmas! May your Christmas be filled with light, love and a "rare Who Roast Beast."
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