(4 minute read)
Remember the part of Dr.Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” when the grouchy Grinch stood at the top of the mountain peak with the sleigh overloaded with all of the stolen Christmas presents and he hears all the Who’s happily singing?
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled, ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more?”
Christmas 2022 is not going as planned. The Grinch (aka COVID) broke in and tried to steal Christmas from our family. Less than a week before December 25th the Grinch virus nabbed one of our family members, the following day another, and then another. Stricken with aches, pains and flu symptoms each person picked off. He creeped into the house at precisely the right day. Just enough time for out-of-towners to divert plans; enough time for the healthy immune to bolt for a safer distance. What was left in the wake of this holiday heist was a fraction of the family, nursing mounting symptoms and a heap of wrapped presents that would sit untouched for days beyond Christmas. The freezer, fridge and pantry stocked full of stashed away raincheck feasts that fell by the wayside, and was replaced by a menu of chicken soup, crackers and electrolyte drinks.
Stockings hung by the chimney with care, stuffed by Santa who was not aware. This house was robbed of a big lively multi-day celebration by the villain who has outstayed any expectation. Be gone COVID. It is 2022, be on your way! You zapped my energy and made me sneeze all day. You turned my result stick to positive and cancelled all the Christmas plans that we had, and made everyone in my family sad.
I cried boo hoo like Cindy Lou Who. But just as she and the other Who’s did, we found a way to celebrate too. It started out small, just us two empty-nesters and one youngest son, carrying out our traditions with the rise of the sun. Youngest to oldest, our son trailed each furry four legged sibling, down the stairs to check Santa’s cookie for nibbling. Much more quiet with just us three, but somehow it was better than I expected it to be. Our spirits were rising as the morning went by, reminding me of all the blessings we have in our life.
While missing celebrating Christmas with the rest of my kids on this day, I knew somehow we surely would find a way. Thank goodness for Zoom on the computer screen, we gathered together with miles in between. Telling stories and laughing hard, twenty minutes turned to an hour. Our shared joy and love was something COVID could not sour. Like the Who’s down in Who-ville we lightened up our December, and made this a holiday we would always remember.
It came without gift boxes, shared meals, or family games. It came with naps, Kleenex and hot soup. All it took was a coordinated Zoom for our separated group. COVID thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, need not be a big family crowded into the same room? What if Christmas, he thought, could bring separated people together by Zoom?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?