Banishing the Grinch from Christmas

When I walked into my 87-year-old friend's kitchen, she didn't even say hello. Instead, she said, "I hate Christmas. Well, not when the kids were little. But now. I hate Christmas."

She motioned to the envelopes, cards, an address book and pen spread out on the table. But I knew the real reason. Last year, on Christmas Day, her only daughter had died. I can't imagine facing Christmas under such circumstances. So I looked her in the eye and said, "If I were in your shoes, I'd hate Christmas, too."

She nodded.  Her eyes said it all.

Then, I started admiring the really clever Christmas cards she had chosen, which had been designed by a British artist. And we got into quite a discussion about artists, family histories and generator installations in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Out of the blue she said, "Before you leave I have to show you the dog."

She explained that she had gone to all the CVS drugstores in our area trying to find more dogs just like the one she was going to show me. She wanted to have one for herself and give others to friends and family. She had managed to snag only three.

There on the kitchen counter sat a stuffed dog. She pushed the "Push Here" button on his paw. And the dog started singing a Christmas song, moving around and flapping his ears in time to the music.We both burst out laughing.

"Isn't he great?" she asked.

I left her house marveling at how the Grinch hadn't actually gotten away with stealing my neighbor's Christmas completely. She still had a lot of resilience and even Christmas spirit left. That's probably why she's lived so long.

Still, in this highly commercial world, I hope we can all keep the true spirit of Christmas and this multi-cultural Holiday Season alive. Joy, peace, hope, love. Let the light of what's ultimately good overcome the darkness. 

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