Monday, December 6, 2010

Who Really Stole Christmas?

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel. You are as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel. Mr Grinch. Your a bad banana with a greasy black peel.

We all know the Grinch stole Christmas, right? But who first stole Christmas from the Grinch?

It all started out when the Grinch was just a boy. He was different, unique, even green and hairy.

In the remake movie version, we get a better glimpse at how this might have all started than we do from watching the old animated Dr Suess version.

At Christmas time, his teacher asked all the students to bring in a special gift for the person they cared about, so he set about his task of diligently making a homemade gift for the little girl he had a crush on.

When the other kids laughed at him, he threw his gift across the room, and was so overcome with anger and embarrassment, that he vowed to never celebrate Christmas again, and to never love again either. Due to years without giving or receiving love - his heart simply shrunk.

He allowed the memories of Christmases past, to determine how he would feel about all the Christmases of the future, and life in general. He adopted a permanent mindset that was laced with bitterness and negativity. If I were to describe how he probably felt inside, I would say:

He had been betrayed - and vowed to never trust anyone again.

He had been disappointed - and vowed to never put stake in anyone else.

He had been hurt - and vowed to never love anyone again.

He had been rejected - and vowed to never let other people get too close.

He had been embarrassed - and vowed to alienate himself from others so that he would never feel that way again.

Welcome to a peek into the mind of the Grinch - before he decided to steal Christmas.

The trials, difficulties and painful emotions of life had stolen Christmas from his heart forever, and sadly enough, this mentality is not that far from reality.

All too often, we allow past or present circumstances to define our attitudes and our future, instead of placing both of those things in the hands of God and trusting Him.

There are many lessons we could pull from The Grinch, but one thing that stands out to me, is that although the movie does not overtly specify a Christian theme, it has a lot of biblical imagery.

For example, the Grinch has red eyes in the original cartoon, although they are yellow in the Jim Carrey remake.

In both the cartoon and remake versions, you will see the Grinch with an evil grin, crooked fingertips poised together for a sinister plan, coldness of heart, and distanced from other people.

The Grinch had a goal to deceive the people of Whoville and rob them in more ways than one. He wanted to change their hearts forever through his acts of evil.

The Grinch was the master deceiver, adept at lying, even to the most innocent of innocent, like little Cindy Lu.

His final deception was assuming the disguise of Santa - a character that most people love, embrace and trust. He disguised himself as something pleasurable and good, when in fact he was evil and bad. He tricked Cindy Lu into thinking she could trust him, and that he was doing her a favor.

He proceeds to carry out his evil plans, and to make matters worse, he takes great pleasure in his thievery. In fact, the narrator in the movie says that the Grinch "steals Christmas with glee".

In the animated version, he even slithers through the living room to steal the Christmas trees, holiday decorations and presents - much like a serpent.

He envies the joy and happiness that the Whos have in their hearts, and he experiences anger and aggression because of this envy. He wants to hurt them, as he has been hurt, and he wants to have control of their emotions and happiness.

The lyrics of the song say it all, as it describes the Grinch in great detail:

a heart with an empty hole; garlic in his soul; no tenderness or sweetness; the king of sin; filled with poison; crooked and dirty; an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots; a soul full of gunk. eyes... sinister plans... coldness... deceit... evil.... theft.... sour.... an empty heart... sounds a lot like someone we read about in the Bible, doesnt it?

You know who I am talking about - that other mean one - Satan.

John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, and that is exactly what the Grinch had in mind when he came up with his plan to steal Christmas from Whoville. In this movie, the Grinch seems to be the enemy incarnate.

He wanted to steal their joy; kill their happiness; destroy their holiday.

He wanted to ruin their lives and dampen their future.

He wanted to crush relationships. He wanted to carry out his evil schemes in the hopes that he could steal so many precious things from them, that they would never celebrate or sing again.

On the surface, this movie could be interpreted as nothing more than an outcry against the commercialization of Christmas, but oh, how it is really "something more".

This movie holds a great analogy of the sinister plans that the worldly thief carries out every day, and how he tries to steal life.

In the same way that the Grinch walked around in broad daylight, in plain view of all the Who's in Whoville, the thief is in our midst too, disguised as something good or pleasurable.

He tempts us with sin, causes us to stumble in our faith, orchestrates trials in our lives, and longs to steal our joy. He fills our heads with lies that nobody cares about us, that we are worthless, that we are unlovable - just like the Grinch. He encourages us to hold onto bittnerness, regret, and unforgiveness.

He is the master deceiver, with a definite plan in mind to dampen not only our present, but our future as well.

He wants to steal not only the joy of Christmas from our holiday, but the joy of Christ from our heart.

But John 10:10 also tells us that Jesus came to give us abundant life.

My favorite part of this movie is when we witness the total transformation of the Grinch. I especially love this scene in the remake version with Jim Carey, where the grinch is crying for the first time, and thinks he is "leaking". Then in that same moment, the sky opens up, beautiful orange sunshine peeks through the clouds and fills the sky with beauty. (Click HERE if you would like to watch this scene)

Then.. something from the skies touches The Grinch's heart. He begins to feel all "toasty" inside - and his heart is changed forever.

Through the support and joy of his community, and a little heavenly intervention, the Grinch transforms himself into something good, from something bad. He realizes that his total self absorption, lack of forgiveness, and bitterness has kept him captive in a world of complete alienation, filled with loneliness, discouragement and feelings of worthlessness.

Even though we know that the real grinch will never embrace redemption, what a wonderful scene it is, when the Grinch finally comes to understand that Christmas really doesnt come from a store.....that Christmas really is "something more".

And that "something more" is love.

The movie does not really specify what that "something more" is - but we know. Smiles.

Only the love of Christ can cause someones hearts to grow three sizes and beat out of their chest. That "something more" is found in the realization that Christmas is not a holiday, but a feeling of absolute peace, stemming from the assurance that we are loved by the Creator of the universe and that life is a gift.

It is a time for recognizing that without Christ, our hearts would be too small too -void of true joy, happiness, and love; unable to love others, trust others, and put our faith in the Something More that we cannot see.

Christmas really does not come from a store.

In fact, Christmas really IS Something More.

Christmas is a state of heart and mind, which can never be stolen away - unless - we give the grinch permission to take it.

(Email subscribers may need to visit my blog to see the movie clips)

Tomorrow - lets take a deeper look at how the first grinch (Satan) tried and failed at stealing Christmas too.

Who Really Stole Christmas?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Michelle said...

Thank you Tracie! I am really enjoying your thoughts on the Christmas classics. I will be sharing them with my children before we watch them this year.
Merry Christmas!

Wander said...

Awesome comparison!
My family really loves this movie. We watch it every year.
Now, I'll think of it much differently.

Great connection.