Right this minute I'm listening to the classic Boris Karloff reading of How The Grinch Stole Christmas... you know, the one they made for the cartoon. I have it on CD. I've always loved that story! I even bought a copy of the book itself and listened to the CD while I read through the book (did you know that he uses black thread in the cartoon, but he uses red thread in the book? FASCINATING!!! hehe) So anyway, hearing it again this year reminded me of something that occurred to me last year around this time. The story about the Grinch is a sweet story, but it is not particularly compatible with Christian values... in fact, I think I would probably classify it as squarely humanistic.
Why pooh-pooh a Christmas classic? you may ask. (Did you ask? If you didn't, go ahead so I can make my next point. ...OK, thanks.) I'm not throwing mud at Dr. Seuss, and I'm not denigrating the story of the Grinch, either. Heck, I have a t-shirt with the Grinch's head on it, for goodness sakes! But the message of the story does not include any indication that we need anything bigger than ourselves to bring peace and cheer into our world. The story of the Grinch tells us that all we need is to be nice to each other. As long as we hold hands and just "be ourselves" we don't mind if someone stole everything we own.
Maybe that's how Whos are, but it's not how Whumans are! And it's not how Christians should try to be, either. Without Jesus in our lives, unless we submit to him, someone in the circle is going to start squeezing someone's hand, and a fist fight will break out. Someone's going to dah-who when they should have fah-whod, and someone else will hear and get crabby that the music is messed up and feelings will get hurt. Besides, where are the police here? The whole village is ransacked and nobody even cares to bring the criminal to justice? Seems like a good way to get robbed over and over until you wise up.
I love the Grinch story. I think it's good to teach especially very small children that we need to do our best to get along, especially at Christmas. But I think the final message of the story is imperfect. There's a crack in the foundation. Enjoy it and get warm fuzzies and hug your family members, yes! But don't build your life on it philosophically.
Then again, if you're building your philosophy of life on Dr. Seuss stories alone, maybe you should put a little more effort into that. :)