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

Sure, I wear a sour, grinchy frown while I’m doing all the driving, shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking, unwrapping, cleaning, and undecorating that the holiday season entails. And if I’m being honest, I have to admit that nearly every December I explode in a not-so-jolly tirade in which I threaten to cancel Christmas and its endless barrage of things to do and places to go. ‘Course there’s also the fact that my grown children still to this day sing “She’s a mean one, Mom the Grinch.”

Dang it…my husband is right, isn’t he? (Please don’t tell him I said that.) I am a Grinch.

But if I may, I’d like to speak in defense of my green curmudgeony counterpart—and not just because we share some not-so-flattering personality traits. Don’t you think the narrator of his tale was a bit judgy? After all, he did compare the Grinch to a dead tomato with moldy purple splotches. He even said the Grinch’s heart was full of unwashed socks and he had garlic in his soul. No wonder the Grinch smelled so terrible…which might explain why he didn’t particularly want to be around people.

Adding to the Grinch’s problems, of course, were his too-tight shoes, some sort of physical ailment related to how his head attached to his body, and a heart condition—that’s enough to make even the most congenial among us a bit grouchy. The Grinch wasn’t a monster—he was simply a misunderstood, albeit stinky, homebody desperately in need of a metaphorical heart transplant.

Yes, I see myself in the brokenness of the green guy. Maybe you see yourself, too. Because aren’t we all in need of a heart makeover? Couldn’t we all stand for our hearts to grow a bit? Would we not all benefit from the life transformation that happens when, like the Grinch, we open our hearts to the mercy and help and grace that are available to us through the birth of our Savior? After all, that’s an eternal Christmas gift that even the Grinch was unable to resist.

So I’ve decided to be MORE like the Grinch, not less, only hopefully without the stench. I plan on concentrating on the opening my heart part, not the nasty-wasty Christmas-hating part. And I hope I have a heart transformation like his, too; one in which I embrace all that comes with the Christmas season—giant to-do list of things to do and places to go included. Because though the true essence of Christmas isn’t about the going and the doing, it is about spreading love and happiness to others as we go and we do.

I’m hopeful my heart transformation will help me to keep the true meaning of Christmas joyfully in my heart all year long. And I’m hopeful my family finds my newfound joy contagious. Should I backslide, though, and my husband tells me I’m behaving like the Grinch, I’m simply going to respond, “Thank you! That is so sweet of you to say!