Did the Grinch Really Steal Christmas?
I was watching the local morning infotainment show the other morning. They ran an animated ad for themselves based on the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. In this cartoon, they renamed the Grinch the Grunch (if my memory doesn’t fail me), and the Cindy Lou Who character was portrayed by the likeness of one of the anchors. The Grinch being one of my favourite Christmas programs I watched this lil’ short/ad.
There he is, the Grunch, loading the presents into his sack, the Christmas tree ornaments, etc. Just like in the original the Cindy Lou Who character comes and sees “Santa” stealing everything. Like the Grinch the Grunch begins to offer some explanation for why all the material goods need to be taken away. Just as the lil’ girl looks as if she will accept the explanation, she pulls out a giant cartoon hammer and chases the Grunch away.
I was appalled. Their lil’ remake of the Christmas classic completely misses the point of Dr. Seuss’ story. The good doctor provides us with a story that is anti-consumerism, anti-commercialism, and full of redemption. The message of the Grunch is anti-Christmas, pro-materialism, pro-consumerism. It has the message that, “Yes! The Grinch did steal Christmas.” Yet, Seuss’ story tells us that Christmas cannot be stolen. Christmas is NOT decorated trees, presents, big dinners. No, even when the Whos of Whoville woke to find all of the material trappings associated with Christmas gone, they still celebrated. Christmas was in their hearts. When the Grinch sees this Advent happens to him. His heart grows three sizes. He is transformed, a new creation. The radical love of the Who community has touched him opened the door for the true spirit of Christmas. It’s as if Christ is born in the Grinch’s heart on that Christmas morning.
But the news show’s version allows for no such thing. Instead it is the trappings that are important. The material that is associated with the spirit of Christmas, with love itself. There is nothing for the Grunch to see, to open his heart for the birth of the Saviour. No, instead greed, what’s mine is mine, having material things was reinforced.
Later I was reminded of A Charlie Brown Christmas another story of the true meaning of Advent. Because aren’t we all that ratty, broken, naked stick of a tree despised by all. Then the transfomative power of the Spirit of Christmas changes the hearts of the kids who then pass that love along to the tree. I certainly am more that little unwanted tree, was until transformed by the birth of Christ within my heart.
I still watch the show knowing it is owned by CBS and is a tool of the 1%, but I was disappointed.