Alice Gannon: Notes from the Faith Journey

I recently had the pleasure of watching multiple TV and movie versions of the classic story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss with my four-year-old twin grandsons. One of the many blessings of spending time with young children is the opportunity to see the world through their fresh eyes which can be simultaneously naïve and wise. They were skeptical about how the people of Whoville could be so joyous on Christmas morning despite all of their Christmas decorations, gifts and food having disappeared during the night. Why weren’t they angry or sad?
This was, of course, yet another great opportunity to help educate them about the true mean-ing of Christmas. But as is so often the case when you work to teach a young person something, you often learn something yourself.
I had been struggling with the thought that for the first time in over 60 years I would not be singing in a Laurel Heights Choir at the Festival of Lessons and Carols. I would not be in our beautiful sanctuary participating in the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. I would not get to enjoy reenacting the story of the Three Kings with a large group of the congregation and visitors at the annual Feast of the Three Kings. All of these uplifting, cherished events and so much more has been stolen from all of us by this horrible pandemic. I have been feeling a little angry and sad about that loss.
But as I spoke to my grandsons it occurred to me that the Whos down in Whoville were right. I have focused too much on these lovely, but ultimately secondary rituals of Christmas. I have no good reason to be angry or sad. Nothing should diminish our JOY that Christ came with his message of Love, Hope and Peace.
In Austin there is a restaurant, the El Arroyo, well known for its sign that often has a funny and/or wise saying on it. A recent one said “In a World full of Grinches be a Cindy Lou Who.” Good advice for all of us this Advent and Christmas season!
Alice Gannon