The Grinch is Still Alive and Well
Written by
Sarah Martin Byrd
December 2010
Written by
Sarah Martin Byrd
December 2010

Tis’ the season to be jolly, right? Not so for many. The holidays add so much extra stress. While rural America is struggling to keep their head above water the dreaded expense of Christmas sneaks it’s way into our homes, robbing our purses and using our plastic so fast it goes back into our wallets a smokin’. All most parents want to do is bring a smile to their child’s face on Christmas morning. To be able to purchase some of what’s on that wish list. But today’s “wants” far exceed the needs of children these days. What ever happened to the days when you got your yearly set of new socks, and underwear for Christmas presents? The big gift in days past was a special dolly, or a new bike; maybe even a shiny red wagon or snow sled. Today the new dolly has to eat, drink, and poop. The new bike is now a four-wheeler, and the shiny wagon and snow sled have been replaced by a WII game, not to be complete without the plastic attachments that you have to purchase or the game is useless.

The real thief is not only stealing our money, but our joy. This should be the happiest time of the year. The smells and sounds of Christmas, homes decorated with trees, lights, ribbons and bows, special foods simmering in pots or baking in the oven. Reunions with family members you seldom see. Some who will not be here next year! We are letting the old saying “keeping up with The Jones’,” rule our life. I promise, our kids will not suffer a “great depression” if their every want is not filled, and think how much more you can enjoy the days leading up to Christmas if you know you’re not going to be paying for it the entire next year.

That thief is around every corner as we rush through the days leading up to the holidays. Parking lots full, long check out lines and short tempers. As the Christmas tunes play over the intercom do we even listen to the words? If we could all just take the message of this song and apply it to our lives. “Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright.” How peaceful is that?

Then there are those whose happiness has been stolen by the grief monster. They cannot see or feel the magic of the season for the dark cloud that hangs over their heads threatening to smother the joy right out of their being. Maybe you don’t know why you’re sad. And then again you just might know exactly why. You miss a loved one so badly you can’t seem to draw in enough air to breathe when you think about them. You might be mad at the world or even God, where is the joy in that? You may be living in a broken home that was once filled with laughter, but now only brims over with hurt and pain. Oh yes, where is the joy?

I’ll tell you. It’s in the kind smile and patient ways of the checkout clerk at the store you just shopped at. It’s a hand written note sent to a sick or depressed soul. A pie or cake delivered to a neighbor, still warm from your oven. The real pleasures of life cannot be bought with money, but with your time. The scrapbook I’m making for my aunt with Lou Gehrig’s disease will not cost more than a few cents per sheet, but the time I’ve put into it is priceless. You can’t pay someone to fill out Christmas cards for you, not if they are done from the heart. This was a very special time for me this year because my husband helped me, looking up addresses and posting them on the envelopes. Nothing can replace those shared hours.

Just look around at your blessings, a healthy family, warm home and food to eat. Many do not have these luxuries. Can you imagine spending a night out in the frigid weather we’ve been having? How about the blessing of inner peace? To know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter what happens in your life it will all come out great in the end. That’s what this Christmas season is all about. Going back to the humble beginnings of baby Jesus, lying there among the animals in a cold shed carved out of a hillside. You don’t have to be rich and famous to have it all, you just have to give your all to have it!

Don’t let the Ginch steal the magic of the season for you and your family. Be conservative; give to those who need it and less to the ones who don’t. Buy your children family games instead of an iPod. So what if they are not cool because they don’t have all the modern gadgets. When your children are grown, what will they remember most about Christmas? Baking for friends? Taking much needed provisions to those who are experiencing hard times? Maybe buying gifts for a child without hope of receiving anything. Just spending time, and not money is what your children will remember. Play with your kids. Get down the old Monopoly board and enjoy the short time you’ll have those youngsters around. Memories last forever, electronic devices are quickly outdated and the batteries wear out, not to mention they rob us of precious moments with our children.

Don’t let the Grinch steal your joy this Christmas. Merry Christmas to you all and to all a good night!

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  • I couldn't agree more. Just sit yourself down with a bottle of good red wine and a simply prepared meal and a handful of warm-hearted guests, and toast to the possibility of inner peace.