My all-time favorite Christmas movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation followed closely by How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Both stories are messy stories about Christmas; I like messy stories because messy stories are real and honest. Christmas Vacation turns thirty (30) this year. Hardly seems possible, and the Grinch? Well, the Grinch is a bit longer in the tooth. I remember watching it as a child.
What story is complete without a dog? Dogs just make everything better, am I right? Even the Grinch had a faithful dog named Max. Max the dog is a testament to the loyalty of dogs. Let’s face it, the Grinch was a miserable, grumpy, unattractive Who but, the one thing the Grinch loved was his faithful dog, Max, and Max loved the miserable Grinch right back.
The Grinch hated most things but he hated Christmas beyond reason. And not just some of it, the whole Christmas season. From high atop Mount Crumpit, the Grinch loathed the Whos as they prepared for the Whoville Christmas season. If he stopped Christmas from coming, the Grinch reasoned in his head, there would be no celebrating, just misery instead. A diabolical plan came to life in his brain; take away all their toys and packages with bows then only sadness remains. Cleverly disguised in a Santa suit and hat the Grinch could steal Christmas from right under their noses. He set about crafting the Santa illusion but he needed a reindeer to complete the delusion. The Grinch cleverly improvised and made one of his own. Faithful Max got a big horn tied to his head and played the part as his miserable Who commanded.
The Grinch is not unlike many of us. He felt unloved, judged, ignored, rejected, made fun of, and like the whole world was against him. He was different than other Whovillites, but different doesn’t make anyone inherently bad, just different. But his saving grace when the world seemed against him was Max his loyal and faithful companion.
When we feel judged, ignored, cast aside, and worst of all, that we don’t even matter our dogs still love us just the same. Their eyes penetrate our very souls and see us for who we are apart from depression that overwhelms, dark thoughts, insecurities, and failures in life. Our dogs see the spark that is Divine Love deep within.
It’s just a cute Christmas story, but even Max knew a spark of the Divine flickered inside the soul of his beloved Grinch. He knew if he hung in there long enough if he remained loyal and by the side of this miserable Who Grinch, the Grinch would feel the spark of Divine Love and come alive. “And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say—that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then—the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!” (How the Grinch Stole Christmas!)