“He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”

Those are words from near the end of the classic story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss.  They describe the Grinch’s sudden realization that his efforts to steal Christmas from the people of Whoville have failed because Christmas is bigger than anything he has ever encountered. What follows is the transformation of his own Grinchy heart.

This Christmas, as at every Christmas, we will gather our family to read the Christmas story from the gospels and to contemplate the extraordinary story of God’s gift of a Savior to our world. We will exchange gifts that remind us of that first Christmas gift, and rekindle the traditions that make this a very special time.

How will you celebrate the holidays? I’m sure you have your own distinctive set of festive decorations, wonderful dishes, and personal traditions that make your celebration “merry and bright.”

It is possible to look back over the last twelve months with a Grinchy heart—and to recall the various ways in which love, joy, and hope have been threatened. There are so many things we could focus on that at first glance might seem to threaten any holiday joy. Those things won’t disappear because of Christmas; we understand that. There will still be plenty of hard situations to face in the New Year.

But as the Grinch in the story learned for himself, those things won’t stop Christmas from coming. Somehow or other it comes, just the same.  And it comes with hope, with gratitude, and with optimism for the future. As it does, every year!

May your days be bright with the promise of Christmas. And may the blessings that it brings be your companion and joy in 2018!