Tis the season for menorahs and stars; and stockings and presents— did someone say books?— and ho-ho-ho, and cookies and fruitcake and snow, snow, snow. And the Grinch.

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

Like the rest of my childhood friends, I looked forward to Christmas. Went to Christmas Eve service for communion, then off to bed with fingers crossed for Santa to deliver at least one of the requested items on my list; then, if the holiday fell on Sunday, we’d go back to church to apologize for our greed-filled thoughts. Maybe that’s why I was so very careful not to show my excitement.

Nah, that’s not it. I was afraid to get too excited because if ever a bubble of joy escaped my lips, my father’s icy blue eyes would pierce his order of…“That’s enough of that!” And so, I spent my formative years celebrating Christmas in secret. I’d sneak out of bed before anyone was up, steal a look at the tree, find the presents with my name on them, scurry back to bed, and with eyes clamped shut try to guess what was in each box; then I’d wait for someone to wake me out of my fake coma-like slumber. To this day, my family tells everyone, “Jocosa was never interested in Christmas. Every year we had to drag her out of bed.”— It’s astonishing how the people who are supposed to know you the best, know you the least.

To compensate for squelching my excitement, I coveted the minute details of my friends’ holidays. I listened and memorized their delights, then did my best to artfully dodge all inquiries into the goings on in my house because there was nothing covetable to share. I also devoured every Christmas movie I could from A Charlie Brown Christmas to The Bishop’s Wife. My mission— to fill my not-too-small heart to an overflowing max with goodwill and joy to keep it bubbling all through the New Year.

A grand plan, which worked well until the disappointments of life mounted, and I started rolling towards the dark night of my soul. Then surprise, surprise— along came Envy— “Why doesn’t the good stuff ever to happen to me!?!”

But here’s the interesting thing about Envy. It doesn’t have to arrive that way. It can be wrapped like Doris’s adorable hope in White Christmas, “I sure wish it would happen to me.” I love that moment. Because when Envy is decorated ala Doris it becomes lower case envy and transforms to a desire to celebrate the triumphs of others, then learn how to earn and enjoy our own.

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! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” And what happened then… ? Well…in Who-ville they say That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day!

To long for the blessings that land in other’s laps doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Longing reveals hope. Hope fuels the fire of dreams; it’s the everlasting inner light that guides us to open the doors of empathy, so our hearts grow larger and stronger as we move forever Onward and Upward. May your inner light shine bright and carry you safely through the holidays, and have a blissful New Year!