I hate shopping, but I love watching my nearest and dearest unwrap their presents. Decorating the tree is a drag, but carefully assembling the Nativity Scene on the sofa table gives me all kinds of divine joy. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is the creepiest song ever, but the heavy-metal single “Jingle Hell” is seven shades of awesome (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=305viYB-G1U). It’s also deliberately unsettling what with the hounds of death ripping, biting, and slaying.
And then, of course, there’s the Grinch– dear old Boris Karloff, to be exact. A lot of my favorite parts of the holiday are a little bit dark… perhaps even gothic. We’re in the bleak Midwinter, and it makes sense that the celebration of Christmas should have some darker bits, too– and let’s be honest, Christianity has plenty of ’em. (It doesn’t do any good to deny it.) Even my Nativity scene has the baby Jesus in the cross position… something my brother deems “rather unfortunate.”
But maybe a time of joy needs a little shading to emphasize the light. I don’t want to get all “chicken and egg” over the question of can we appreciate sweetness without the existence or bitter, but in the case of Christmas, it seems they both have to exist. If you weren’t cold, you wouldn’t snuggle. If the Grinch weren’t a, well, Grinch, he wouldn’t have learned a lesson from the Whos. If we humans weren’t constantly doing what we weren’t supposed to do, there would be never have been a Christmas.
And that’s so profound I need a cup of coffee.