Boris Karloff has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard. It can be identified almost immediately because it is so distinctive. His work on the original cartoon “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” is brilliant. I love to hear him speak, read, watch him act; he’s amazing. No one can bring the Grinch to life like Karloff could. The cartoon has become iconic in large part because of his voice work.
The Grinch teaches us so much about Christmas. It really is an amazing story.
The Grinch begins the story burned out, angry, bitter, vengeful, think of any negative word you can and it will apply to him. He hates Christmas because of the joy it brings. He hates happiness because he feels like an outsider so he wants to rob the little Who’s of Whoville of their Christmas and, ultimately, their happiness. The cries of sadness and disappointment on Christmas morning after he has stolen all their presents would bring him a sick, twisted pleasure.
The Grinch sneaks down to Whoville Christmas Eve with his little dog in tow (who is horrified at what he’s doing) and steals everything, even the roast beast. At the pinnacle of the mountain overlooking the town the Grinch waits on Christmas morning with all the presents, decorations, and food awaiting the wailing that will surely follow the discovery of his treachery.
Instead, the sound of singing fills his ears. Singing! How can they be singing after everything they love about Christmas has been stolen!? At that moment, the true meaning of Christmas is revealed. It’s not about all the decorations and presents; it’s a celebration of something much more important. The true meaning of the celebration makes the Grinch’s heart swell to overflowing. The presents are returned, the decorations re-hung, and the roast beast goes in the oven. Joy comes to one who had none.
Christmas brings happiness because we celebrate something bigger than the stuff we get or hang on the tree. Christmas brings happiness because it is about Jesus. Jesus isn’t mentioned in the story of the Grinch but it is certainly implied.
The holiday would be empty if all it were reduced to is tinsel, lights and wrapping paper. When Jesus is the focus it becomes joyful and full of meaning. This year remember that Christmas has a deep, spiritual meaning that should move us to worship.
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at [email protected]