I have written in the past about how I am a self-proclaimed Grinch. In the Jim Carey version, the Grinch says “4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing. I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness.”
This I understand (OK, so I won’t be jazzercising). I love Jesus and I love Advent but having some much loss, leaves me feeling down around Christmas. The Grinch never disliked Christmas because he did not get the gift he wanted. It was never because he did not get the slice of roast beast. It was never even because he hated the Whos. It was because he felt alone.
I know I am not the only one who feels Grinchy around Christmas. For many people, the holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year.” However, for some people, they are difficult.
We need to try to be like Cindy Lou Who. Cindy Lou said, “No one should be alone on Christmas.” We need to try to reach out to those who struggle this time of year and invite them into the celebrations. Or as the Grinch told Cindy Lou, “Saving you, is that what you think I was doing? Wrong-o. I merely noticed that you’re improperly packaged, my dear.” Some of us during the holiday are just improperly packaged.
A friend of mine is one of those people who loves Christmas and it hurt her heart that I do not feel that joy around the season.
Four years ago she decided to start a “second Christmas” for me to “make my heart grow three sizes.” Over the last three years we have done a variety of activities (and have roped in some of our ordained friends). We always start with breakfast which includes wearing matching tee T-shirts. Then it is off on some adventure. We have been to the beach (yes in the winter), we have cruised around in the car, we have gone to a park and zoo and fed the animals, we watched Christmas movies while we ate homemade cookies, and we celebrated Mass in my living room (while both my dogs were present). It has become something I look forward to every year. It has become the way that I most see Christ in Christmas.
At the end of the Grinch, the Narrator says “Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we.” As we head into this third week of Advent, the rose week, the week of joy, it is a reminder to us to get excited for the arrival of Christ and to see Him in our loved ones. But it is also a chance for us to be that Cindy Lou Who to those in our lives who cannot see the Christmas spirit. We know that Christmas will still come “without ribbons, it comes without tags. It comes without packages, boxes, or bags” but what it does need is love. God is love and that was what was born on Christmas day!
So from this Grinch in conversion to all the Grinches and Cindy Lou Whos out there — Merry Christmas! May you see and feel all the joy and love that Christ brings.
Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at email@example.com.