My Christmas would not be the same without the Grinch.
Friday night after Thanksgiving, I was enjoying a quiet evening at home after hosting friends for the holiday dinner the day before. Turning on the tv, I was so happy to find Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” cartoon just starting. It is my all-time favorite cartoon program–and watching it is an annual holiday ritual. Indeed, my Christmas would not be the same without the Grinch.
How did the Grinch steal my heart oh so many years ago? First of all, my favorite color is green, and he is a mean green, that Grinch. And he is very creative–like the part where he cuts and sews his Santa suit and dresses Max up as a reindeer. Wickedly, fiendishly creative and clever!
The Grinch is a colorful representation of our shadow self, our sinister side, and our wounded one within–something I am also very aware of in my own life. The Grinch is both darkness and light. The Grinch is Everyman. The Grinch is…me.
This Seuss story is such a beautiful example of human (Grinch) potential, the ability to change, the transformation of one heart and soul because of the joined hands and hearts of a loving community. Oh, how we can isolate ourselves from community and support and nurturing, and–sometimes–how the community responds to that by ostracizing or ignoring or excluding the shadowy figure. However, in Dr. Seuss’s masterful story, the Whos down in Whoville are a loving and supportive and accepting community. They are like a healthy family or church congregation, a tribe, a sangha–able to live in the present moment and to accept anything that comes their way. Able to give gratitude for the rising sun and the new day and each other, even as all their material goods, their food, their homes have been stripped clean away. Able to accept and embrace the shadow, the darkness. They even invite the Grinch to carve the roast beast! Maybe this is what Christmas is all about. . . .
So many lessons here, in this short story. Our willingness to forgive and be forgiven, to open our hearts to the Divine love that is all around us and within us. And in that opening up, in that trusting, our hearts grow ever larger and stronger. . .and we encounter a certain courage to move through our grief and despair and flaws and to become our Higher Selves, find our Higher Purpose. The community is there to witness our struggles and failures and growth–and to always hold us in the highest light. That is the feast. That is the blessing.
During this Winter Solstice, the season of Festivals of Light all around the world, may we embrace our shadow self, our own griefs and darkness while still trusting in and celebrating the return of the Light.