I don’t care what my husband says, I am NOT a foot-stomping, Mt. Crumpet-climbing, stinky-souled, cantankerous recluse who hates Christmas!

Or am I? I do wear quite the sour, Grinchy frown while I’m doing all the driving, shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking, more driving, eating, drinking, unwrapping, cleaning, and undecorating that the holiday season entails. And I may have, on more than one occasion, threatened to cancel Christmas if my family didn’t stop driving me crazy with their holiday-inspired rambunctiousness and all their noise, noise, noise! So maybe my husband is right (please don’t tell him I said that).

But if I may, I’d like to speak a bit in defense of my green curmudgeony counterpart. Don’t you think the narrator of his tale was a bit judgmental? After all, he did make up a three-minute song—the sole purpose of which is to tell us how vile and heinous the Grinch is. The thing is, though, we never really know what’s going on in someone’s life that’s causing them to behave badly. The Grinch is dealing with shoes that are too small, some sort of physical ailment related to how his head is attached to his body, and a heart condition—that’s enough to make even the most congenial among us a bit grouchy. What if, instead of assuming the worst about the Grinch’s character, the narrator had extended a hand of friendship? Granted, the story might not have been nearly as intriguing without the dive into debauchery and thievery, but it certainly would have made a good example of how hearts can be touched, and more importantly, changed, by kindness and compassion.

Speaking of a change of heart, that brings me to my next point of defense for the Grinch. Maybe he wasn’t a villain at all. Perhaps, he was just desperately in need of a metaphorical heart transplant. He may have been grinchy and rotten and embittered, but in the end, he did open his heart to the mercy and help and grace that were available to him through the birth of our Savior. That was an eternal gift that even the Grinch was unable to resist.

So being a Grinch is not really a bad thing at all—he opened his heart, he learned, and he grew to love. Certainly, my nasty-wasty transgressions extend beyond a little anxiety over the holiday hoopla. There have been times when I have been quite selfish, fearful, and, yes, angry … regrettably so … but I do hope like my green Grinchy friend that I experience a true transformation and accept the grace that is available to me. Mostly I want that so I can keep the true meaning of Christmas joyfully in my heart all year long. But also, I want that so the next time my husband tells me I’m just like the Grinch I can respond, “Thank you! That is so sweet of you to say!