Corey’s Corner: when people just don’t get Christmas

President Barry Corey challenges students to “give it up” for Christmas.



Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES

President Barry Corey, Writer

A student tries to balance all the different things Christmas has become about in modern society. | Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES

When it comes to Christmas, some folks just don’t get it.

One of our family’s favorite movies, Christmas or not, is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The movie is set during Christmas, and one old codger named Potter doesn’t get the “giving” thing. The banker hoards greedily, trying to steal from others life’s deepest joys. “You’re a cantankerous fool.” I say that to the screen — at least in my mind — each time I watch this film, which has been dozens of times. When it comes to Christmas, Old Man Potter doesn’t get it.

Ebenezer Scrooge, he doesn't get it either. Prior to overnight conversion, he stingily spent his days counting sixpence over and over. Last year our daughter had a small part in a Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol” with a female Scrooge. I thought that would help. It didn’t. I still loathed the character, this pathetic self-centered broker who could not get himself, or herself, to give a rip about anyone else. I’m not alone in saying that E.S. cannot b-l-e-s-s. 

And who could forget 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 quite 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. He robbed Cindy Lou Who not just of presents and tree, but of the Who pudding and the rare Who roast beast which was something the Grinch could not stand in the least. When it comes to Christmas, the Grinch didn’t get it either.

Herod, he didn’t get it, this Christmas killjoy. He stole boys from loving families in order to save his power. He took and could not give. He too just didn’t get it!

Though eventually Scrooge and Grinch came around, Potter and Herod didn’t.

But thank God that for everyone who didn’t get it, someone did. Someone demonstrated how to give it up for Christmas. For Old Man Potter there were George Bailey and Clarence the Angel. For Ebenezer Scrooge there were Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchet. For the Grinch there were Cindy Lou and all the Whos down in Whoville. And for Herod there were magi. All of them givers, not takers.

This Christmas, our family is thinking about how we’ll give outside of our home to inspire and reflect the selflessness of Clarence and Tim and Cindy and a traveling group of wise men. 

I want to challenge you to think about some random and not-so-random acts of big-heartedness this Christmas to a few folks who don’t expect to receive from you. And when you return in January, ask me what we did. Hold me accountable. I don’t want to be a president whose heart was two sizes too small.

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