And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so...?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till this puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little more?
-- Dr. Seuss
I believe that as we evolve spiritually we begin to see Christmas through new eyes. It has been said that we evolve spiritually either through inspiration or desperation. Perhaps now, with the economy in its current state of uncertainty, people are being forced to redefine the meaning of Christmas and how it will be honored. Unfortunately, it seems the Grinch mentality (which is founded in the fear of "not enough") still pops its little green head up at this time every year. Tragically, several years ago "Black Friday" took on a particularly somber tone when a worker was literally trampled to death in a major discount store by people storming through the doors in a panicked frenzy to get their hands on the "best deals."
There was also a piece on the news last night that further makes my point. The reporter was interviewing people as they left various shopping malls throughout the area. Some people shared how they were violently being pushed and shoved by others while shopping for special bargains on gifts. There were arguments between shoppers on everything from a shortage of the latest video games to a shortage of parking places. Ultimately, there was a shortage of the true Christmas spirit. I guess that we all can become a bit Grinch-like at this time of year when we "forget to remember" the deeper meaning of the season.
As we mature spiritually we begin to question the motives of the Grinch-mind and ask ourselves the same question he did: What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little more? What if it doesn't really come in a box or a bag? What IF it comes in a package called you and me? If fact, what if there actually is "more than enough" of what truly makes Christmas, Christmas. In his well-known Christmas letter, Dr. Ernest Holmes states:
"Christmas is for remembrance. The love manifesting through our gifts to each other typifies the offering of Life, the givingness of Spirit to its creation. The hands of the Eternal are outstretched through our hands, and the heart of the Infinite beats in the human breast. But the giver must give of himself, for the gift without the giver is bare. It is not, then, in lavish gifts that we find true giving but in the sweet simplicity of remembrance, in the kindly thought, the tolerant mind and the gentle act. Love alone can give love, sympathy alone can sympathize and only goodness can really do or be good."
The remembrance of which Dr. Holmes is speaking is really quite simple: It's being mindful enough, even in the midst of the frenzy, to remember that Christmas isn't just about "stuff"... it's about the birth of the awareness of God's Presence in you and me and every other person. This truth is inherent in the heart of the message the great teacher Jesus came to deliver -- to simply live in a remembrance that God is real and that life is good. This then is the greatest gift you can give this season: The remembrance of the Self that is seeking to be birthed anew this and every day, in you, through you, and most importantly, as you. In the process you will find yourself naturally extending more respect (or reverence) to others. Therefore, you'll experience less shoving in lines... in fact, you may even find yourself inviting someone else to move in front of you in the line. So, if the Grinch pops his head up this Christmas season, smile and say:
Thanks for helping me remember
That Christmas is far more
Than what I'll find in the store
It's the Love that dwells in me I say
And it's no gift at all, till I give it away!
Follow Dennis Merritt Jones on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DMerrittJones