Tuesday, November 28, 2017

It's Finally Here - A Christian Version of "The Grinch" Story!

What follows is an adaptation of Dr. Seuss's 1957 book and Chuck Jones' 1967 NBC-TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas that does one thing the original did not - mention Jesus. This version goes out of its way (but not too far out of its way) to be a Type One Christmas Tale rather than the Type Two the original was.

But first a brief (am I lying?) retrospective on the piece of work you are about to read.

In 2011, my grandmother sent the family a Christian take on the Grinch poem. I reacted savagely to Gammy's work, first because my sister rather than myself taught the Grinch about Jesus; then because I thought my family had been incorrectly portrayed as one-dimensional, religion-crazed evangelists in the work. But the most likely explanation was that I just believed I could write a better poem.

I wrote several drafts of this Christian take on the classic Grinch story (one in which I cast myself as the Grinch), but finally settled on this one in the end. The final text does borrow some lines and plot points from several of the cheesy rehashes I blogged about on May 22.

An important thing to observe about this poem is that, unlike the cheesy rehashes which I wrote about, has a consistent rhythm. The rehash writers knew Dr. Seuss rhymed, but didn't realize that the rhythm of a Dr. Seuss text was as important as the rhyming aspect. So in a Christian "Grinch" rewrite like the ones I analyzed, there would be lines such as:

Then that mean old Grinch went to the altar and beside it he knelt,
And a strange feeling he felt.

Do the two lines rhyme? Yes. Do the two lines have a consistent rhythm? No!

Also, it's important to observe that I have not made this story too Christian, it's only about as Christian as A Charlie Brown Christmas. This story does mention Jesus, and the Grinch does learn about Jesus, but I have been careful to make sure that the story does not say that Christian = good (or, for that matter, non-Christian = bad - I would never write anything that does that.)

Final note before you begin reading the poem: The sentiments expressed in this poem do NOT reflect the sentiments that Leo Finelli holds. If anything, the sentiments expressed in the poem reflect those his grandmother holds. If you are here to see the Whos, please leave the site, for in this version, there are no Whos. The Grinch instead robs Faithville.

An audio file will soon be up with this post. Now, the poem.



Dr. Seuss once told a child's fable
About the Grinch, who was unable
To steal the cheer that Christmas brought
And about the lesson he was taught.
But if you'll lend an ear or two,
we'll tell a story fresh and new,
About the Grinch and his Christmas crime,
But a little something more this time.
It's an example of Christmas snobbery
That became known as....

"THE GREAT CHRISTMAS ROBBERY."

Everyone down in Faithville liked Christmas a lot -
But the Grinch,
Who lived just north of Faithville,
Did not!

The Grinch disliked Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
But 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 his shoes were a wee bit too tight.
However, the most likely reason of all
Was that, without Jesus, his heart was too small.

And so, with a heart full of meanness and doubt,
he watched Christmas Eve as the people came out.
They set out their presents, they bowed heads in prayer,
Which made the Grinch happy that he was not there.
But tomorrow, he knew, all the town's girls and boys
Would wake bright and early, and reach for their toys.
And the noise! Oh, the noise! All the NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!
Then the people of Faithville would kneel in their way,
And they'd pray! And they'd pray! And they'd PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
Then they'd stand close together, with their church bells ringing,
They'd stand hand in hand, and they all would start singing!
And the more the Grinch thought of the town's Christmas Sing,
The more the Grinch thought, "I must stop this whole thing!
Why, for too many years I've put up with it now!
I must stop this Christmas from coming? But how?"

Then he got an idea.
An awful idea.
The Grinch had a sinfully awful idea!

"I'll pretend that I'm Santa and steal all their toys,
And steal all the joy from the girls and the boys!"
So he called his dog Max and he loaded a sleigh
With some bags and some sacks, and he went on his way.
With Max as his reindeer, he went down through the air,
And soon came to the first little house on the square.
Then, breaking the tough window pane with a rock,
He reached on inside, and he opened the lock.
"This is too easy!" the fake Santa hissed,
As he tiptoed inside with a curl in his fist.
Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant,
He reached under the tree, and he took every present!
He took all the ornaments off of the tree,
And pitched the tree out with a smile of glee.
Then he made his way to the Nativity scene,
He smashed all the figures - and wiped the place clean.
He was just getting ready to smash God's own Son,
When he listened real closely - he then heard someone!

"Who's there?" he asked slickly, and spun with a whirl,
And there stood by the doorway a small Faithville girl.
"Santa, what are you doing?" she asked. "Who are you?"
The Grinch said to the girl, with no clue what to do.
"My name is Christina, and why are you taking
The sweet baby Jesus, whom you're nearly breaking?"

"He's coming apart," the Grinch said as a lie,
"I'm taking him back to my shop, and that's why.
I'm fixing him up and I'll bring him back here,"
said the Grinch to Christina, who slowly walked near.
So the Grinch pulled the wool over Christina's eyes
with his Santa Claus suit and his cleverest lies.
Christina came near, the Grinch patted her head,
but was taken aback at the next thing she said.

"Dear God, I am thankful that every year,
You send Santa to help us remember you're here.
And God, I am thankful for that night you gave your
Great Son and his light to become our great Savior."

And when she had finished, the Grinch was then crying,
And he sent her to bed, then he kept up his spying.
He took the Lord Jesus and smashed him to pieces,
He packed it all up, and he made his releases!
And the one piece of Jesus he left in the house,
Was his big toe, yet it was too small for a mouse.

Then he robbed all the rest of the small Faithville houses,
Leaving pieces too small for most all of the mouses!
Then, at quarter till dawn, he went up to Mount Crumpet,
With all of their stuff! He was ready to dump it!
When he came to the top it was getting quite light,
And he stopped his old sleigh and he hitched it up tight.
He jumped off the sleigh and he went to the ledge,
And stood looking expectantly over the edge.

"The people of Faithville," he said with a sneer,
"Know that Christmas will just not be coming this year!
They're wailing and moaning and shedding a tear!
That's a noise," said the Grinch, "that I wish I could hear!"

And he did hear a sound, rising over the snow,
It started in low. Then it started to grow...
But this sound wasn't tearful!
Why, it sounded quite cheerful!
Everyone down in Faithville, 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 feet very cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling, "How could it be so?
They sing without presents! They sing without toys!
They sing, though I thought I had stolen their joys!
He puzzled and puzzed till his green fur turned red,
Then that old Grinch remembered what Christina said.

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe it's about Jesus, it's me he came for!"

And what happened next?
Well, in Faithville they say
That the Grinch's heart grew a lot larger that day!
He rode down to the square and brought back what he'd stole,
and he joined all of Faithville in praise as a whole!
Then he went to the manger and beside it he knelt,
As he praised the Lord Jesus for the peace he now felt.
He hugged young Christina (who'd known all along),
And he joined her in prayer, and in love, and in song.
And wherever he went, he repeated the call
That Jesus himself....
Jesus came for us all!


TIPS ON PERFORMING "THE GREAT CHRISTMAS ROBBERY"


  • As for performing "The Great Christmas Robbery", it can be done a number of ways. Playing the complete audio file, with people lip-syncing the dialogue as they act it out in mime, could work. Or you could actually act out and deliver the lines as someone else reads the narrator's part.
  • If you are having an actor play the Grinch, whether he is delivering his lines or merely lip-syncing to the audio file, you can address his motions in several ways: you could go all out and have a set, even with a sled and other props, or you could do it simply, and have the Grinch actor mime his motions. 
  • When you perform this, I believe the fact that Christina is a child is more important than the fact that she's female. Thus, if you have no little girls to portray the role, I'd rather you change Christina to a little boy than have an older girl (13 or older) portray the role. In short, Christina needs to be played by someone 12 or under, even if you have to change her to a boy. Her innocence as a child must show. Said actor can do their own lines as the act, or lip-sync to the audio file. They should come back to interact with the Grinch at the end.
  • As for involving more characters than just the Grinch, the narrator, Max the Dog, and Christina, you could: 1) Split up the narrator part between several people; 2) Have a large number of people act as the people of Faithville, singing; or 3) Have 1-4 angels come in and surround the Grinch as he is "born again". 
  • You could also involve children by having the story read from the script by a narrator who is sitting in front of a tree and telling the story to a group of children. Their imaginations cause them to see the action as it happens and the actors come out and mime the parts as the story is read to the children. There is no lip-syncing, but all the voices and parts are done by the person reading the story.
  • Earlier I mentioned that Christina can be gender-flipped if you have no girls 12 or under to play the role. The Grinch, too, can be gender-flipped into a female - all you have to do is change the pronouns.
  • As for costumes, the Grinch should be dressed like the Grinch, either the animated 1967 Grinch from the NBC-TV special or Jim Carrey's Grinch from the 2000 live-action Ron Howard movie. Christina should, however, NOT be dressed like Cindy Lou Who. Although her role in the story mimics that of Cindy Lou in the original, she and the other people of Faithville should not be dressed like Whos. They should be dressed like real people. This is what sets it apart from the TV classic. It represents human characters and what would happen if the Grinch lived on Earth instead of "just north of Whoville."
  • If you feel the need to change any of the passages, leave your queries in the comments.

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