Grinch and Scrooge.
Let’s face it – these are two names you do not want to be called, especially around Christmas.
The names are used, somewhat interchangeably, to accuse somebody of not “getting” Christmas, of being selfish, grumpy, and/or a killjoy.
Just how did these two become the poster boys for party poopers everywhere?
Both Scrooge and Grinch showed extreme annoyance at the trappings of the season.
Grinch hated the “noise, noise, noise, noise!” He disliked all those loud toys, and the singing, and the feasting. Yuck.
Scrooge chased a young caroler away from his keyhole and did a verbal smack down on two gentlemen who were the Salvation-Army-bell-ringer-equivalents of the day, “endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth.” He also rudely turned down his nephew’s offer of hospitality.
They were similar in their hatred of Christmas trappings and in wanting to be left alone, but they each had their own style.
Grinch was set on TAKING the trappings in hopes of shutting down the festivities.
Scrooge refused to GIVE to support the trappings, except for grudgingly giving his clerk a one day paid holiday – which he considered having his pocket picked “every twenty-fifth of December.”
But of course, their stories don’t end there.
Even though we use their names to symbolize something negative, their stories actually both end on an extremely positive note.
In the end, both of these guys “get” Christmas in very deep and meaningful ways.
They each did a “180” and became poster boys for knowing “how to keep Christmas well.”
They each sought out and accepted the company of others and abandoned their earlier distaste for “the trappings.”
The Grinch RETURNED the trappings to the Whos.
Scrooge BOUGHT some trappings and gave them away.
They both accepted invitations to holiday dinners.
But bear with me a moment, because I’m going to go out on a limb here.
It was never about the trappings, per se.
It was about accepting an invitation to be part of a community.
It was never really about the toys or the roast beast or the “prize turkey.”
It was about Cindy Lou Who and about Scrooge’s nephew.
It was about breaking bread together and enjoying the moment.
I wonder if today we need to do our own “180?”
Do we need to enjoy the trappings, but recognize them for what they are?
Do we need a little less Black Friday and credit card debt and a bit more “wonderful unanimity, wonder-ful happiness!?”
Do we need to stop getting stressed and short-tempered under the annual tyranny of the trappings and just enjoy the company?
With or without the trappings, Christmas comes.
Joy to the World!
The trappings are only part of Christmas in so far as they add to the joy.
If the trappings become joy-stealers, reassess.
It’s not about the trappings.
Christmas will come anyway.
Give yourself permission to let go of the stress and grab on to the joy.
And that ain’t no humbug.