Each year we pull out the same wonderful stories to share with family and friends, or maybe just to cheer ourselves. But most have a lesson to be learned, not only for the characters, but also for the reader. A review of my personal favorites leads me to ponder, if we hear these tales repeatedly, why do we continue to miss the moral of each story? Or if we get it, why don't we live it?
I offer the following synopses for your perusal:
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
A mean, green, pseudo-Santa machine plots to abscond with Christmas, lock, stock, and barrel. Despite snatching all the presents, decorations and food from the little town of Whoville, the Grinch is confounded when he finds that Christmas came anyway. The moral was not lost on Mr Grinch. "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 though 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?"
With that, his 2 sizes too small heart grew 3 sizes. The Grinch brings back all the loot he'd pilfered from the Whos.
Miracle on 34th Street
A single mom and her delightfully precocious daugher meet Kris Kringle and a daring lawyer who risks his career to defend Mr Kringle who claims to be the real Santa Claus. With the aid of the USPS, the lawyer proves his client is indeed Santa.
The child, however, looses faith in the old St. Nick when her special present is not under the tree on Christmas morning. Her mother reminds her that "faith is believing in things when common sense tell you not to."
In the end, the little girl finds her special present, though it would never fit under any tree. It looks to all the world as though Mr Kringle had a hand in her discovery as well as making her dream come true.
The Polar Express
A young boy questions the existence of Santa Claus and is taken on a nocturnal train ride to the North Pole. It is there that he discovers the joy of true belief. In the words of the Conductor: "seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."
The boy continues to believe right on through adulthood even though others have lost their ability to have faith.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A cranky miser is visited by four ghosts whose goal is to show him what his greedy, thoughtless ways are doing not only to others, but to himself. You may recall the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, but don't forget the first ghost who called on Scrooge was his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. As Marley laments his past, Scrooge commends his late partner for being a "good man of business." Marley replies loudly, "Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business, charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business."
Before the morning arrives, Old Scrooge learns how right Marley is with those words.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Peanuts gang celebrates in the most secular fashion including holiday decorating contests and wishes for real estate. When Charlie Brown fails as a play director and is belittled for his Holiday tree selection, in frustration, the boy cries out, "isn't there is anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"
Linus, blanket in tow, steps forward to tell all the true meaning of Christmas, by reciting from the New Testament of the Bible, Luke 2:8-14: "And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men."
"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
I wish everyone peace, joy and good will during this season and throughout the coming year.