The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 11, 2011

Robin L. Quillon | Christmas is more than society's trappings

Robin L. Quillon

— You will remember that devilish old Grinch as he sneakily packed up his sled full of Who-ville presents he’d stolen on Christmas eve in an effort to stop Christmas from coming.

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit, he rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!

“Pooh-pooh to the Whos!” he was grinchishly humming.

“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!

“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!

“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry boo-hoo!

“That’s a noise,” grinned the Grinch, “that I simply must hear!”

So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.

And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow.

But the sound wasn’t sad!

Why, this sound sounded merry! It couldn’t be so! But it was merry! Very!

He stared down at Who-ville! The Grinch popped his eyes! Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing! Without any presents at all! He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! It came! Somehow or other, it came just the same!

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 three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.

“Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!”

I love and cherish that classic tale written by Dr. Seuss.

For me, Christmas does mean a little bit more. It’s indeed a special time of year as we gather as families and friends and just ... enjoy.

And miraculously, during this season, like the Grinch, our hearts change and are softened. We smile more, and our feelings are ever so close to the surface.

This is the time of year we are eager to lift another and help those in need. The spirit of the season reawakens and reacquaints us to kindness and civility. The spirit of the season moves us to embrace strangers as our brothers.

It’s a shame that we somehow cannot bottle up these wonderful feelings and slowly sip the nectar of Christmas peace month after month in the coming year to help us maintain this spirit.

I dare say, if we could, our little patch of earth would be a better place.

As we immerse ourselves in this festive season, may I suggest that individually and as families we re-read the captivating story of the birth of Jesus – he who was born in Bethlehem of Judea. After all, I believe, without him, Christmas would have no meaning or reason.

Isaiah spoke of him centuries before his coming: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  

The savior came to earth.

He walked roads of Palestine, teaching the people, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, raising the dead, giving his life, and rising on the third day to “become the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

He had been the creator of this earth, under his father’s direction, for as John records, “without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). He was the lowly babe who came to earth and gave us the gift of Christmas.

I believe if we would remember that he is the reason for the season, then love, thoughtfulness, charity, concern and consideration would abound in us and, to a greater degree, in our homes, ultimately spilling over into society.

Yes, I believe Christmas is more than elegantly decorated trees, gatherings, presents and food. It is more than hustle-and-bustle shopping.

I believe it is recognizing and celebrating that he was born for us. I believe it is faith.

It is faith in God and his eternal Son. It’s believing in his promises to us. It’s faith in him as our Redeemer and our Lord.

This year, give yourself a priceless gift – a gift that will never grow dim or become outdated or useless.

Give yourself the gift of rediscovering the true meaning and joy of Christmas.

I wish you a very merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Robin L. Quillon is the publisher of The Tribune-Demo-crat. He can be reached at

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.