You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel. You’re as cuddly as a cactus. You’re as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch. You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel…
Growing up when I did, we were still operating on the old assumptions about naughty or nice. That you were one or the other and there was no in-between. It was a decades, if not centuries-old method of categorizing the ways we understood human behaviors that only took into account what we visibly did, not what was really going on behind the scenes.
Dr. Seuss, as always, was ahead of his time. How the Grinch Stole Christmas was one of the early stories in the movement to redeem Christmas. To look beyond the outward behaviors and see what was really at the heart of the matter. He may have been one of the first, but he was far from the last.
Christmas, born of God’s own love, has always been about looking far beyond outward appearances to see into the hearts of those involved. To see the glow of those who have been quietly waiting for a miracle. And to see the pain long ignored in those who have been outwardly showing signs of being what we traditionally call “naughty” or mean.
Christmas has always been a story of redemption. So it is extremely important to hold up these tales that get at the true meaning of the Christmas story – even if they have a catchy song about the nastier side of things. Watch again (either 1966 or 2018), and remember, the heart is what truly matters.