The best gift we can give any time of year is the gift of acceptance. In the famous show, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Cindy Lou saw a speck of sweetness in the Grinch that no one else saw until she announced it.
Because she embraced the hairy, green outcast, she changed not only his heart, but those of the entire community. In order to create a healthy heart, we too, must cultivate acceptance.
When we welcome everyone with instinctual caring, our heart expands, and more love flows—both in and out. The amount of love a heart gives and receives is limited only by the walls we create out of fear — fear of letting someone see our tender, vulnerable side — fear of caring too much and getting hurt — just like the Grinch built walls and shrunk his heart because of cruel comments from schoolmates.
Other than the Grinch’s heart being two sizes too small, it was similar to all the Whos in Whoville—beating and tucked behind his rib cage. As it filled with love, the fuzzy misfit’s heart grew to three times its original size just like an athlete’s enlarges because the beating muscle is worked to capacity. The more we show love, the more love we experience in everything in our environment.
Of course, the size of a physical heart doesn’t determine the amount of love or understanding that cultivates within it any more than the size of a germ dictates the amount of damage it can impose on a body. A child’s tiny heart emits as much love as an adult’s much bigger one, and men are as capable of compassion as are women. For this I am thankful. All of humanity benefits when diversity is embraced and outsiders like the Grinch can be accepted without judgement.
Mary and Joseph were strangers to the many faces opening and closing the door to them that fateful night of Jesus’s birth. Had the innkeeper not been in touch with his tender side, he would have possibly sent Mary and Joseph packing and the divine infant to an undeterminable fate.
No doubt, the Infinite who sent Jesus had considered that possibility and had arranged another clandestine location in which the baby would’ve been safely born, but the All-knowing One also had equipped the innkeeper with an accepting, caring heart.
God gave each person the ability to extend that warm-hearted welcome to a stranger like the Innkeeper did to the holy couple — like Cindy Lou did to the Grinch. God gave us the ability to see into the heart of a hurting stranger and to invite the outcast into our circle of hay bales and hot apple cider. He gave us the ability to love as many people as deeply as we permit ourselves to.
Like the sun melts the icicles that drip onto the frozen patches of ground this winter, so too will the warmth from our hearts melt the despair that in grows in the hearts of those who feel there isn’t even a barn in which they are good enough to rest their weary heads. The wisest of men offer gifts from the heart.