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Month: December 2020

Christmas Light

Christmas Light

With a past life filled with fear, depression and loneliness, the Grinch sat with his dog in a cave for years and years – a victim of circumstances. He believed there was no light at the end of his tunnel. Then one day he had a vision and decided to take a bold action, a horribly mean action, to get back at those who he believed had destroyed his life. In the dark of night, he stole all the Christmas gifts, gadgets and groceries in Whoville and piled them in his cave. Then that next morning, the Grinch stood on his mountaintop in defiant expectation of hearing sobs of “Christmas lost” from the village below. Instead he heard songs of “Christmas found.”    

“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 and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”*


This year has been full of fear, depression and loneliness. We were instructed to sit at home, with our pets, in quarantine. We are victims of circumstances, and it looks like Christmas will be much the same. People are asking, “When will we get back to normal? Is there a light at the end of this tunnel?”


Folks, this is normal. This is the tunnel. It will be here for a while. We can wait on others to change our circumstance or we can claim a new vision (not a mean one) and take a bold step to bring light into our tunnel. An action step is something each of us needs to take, but as you have probably discovered, actions cannot be sustained for long through sheer determination or self-discipline alone. They require a change of heart. 

“And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!” *

Journal Entry:  Keeping your tunnel light bright is not easy during times of constant change. Fortunately, there is a source of light that doesn’t change. It  isn’t affected by COVID spread, the economic upheaval or political discord or found in having more packages, boxes or bags. It’s the light that appeared when God spoke four words, and the world was born. This same light  appeared over 2000 years ago, in a star above a manger. It was there to announce the offer of gift of a purposeful and peaceful life to anyone who truly  believes in the authentic reason for this season. Where do you find the heart of Christmas and how will you light up the tunnel for others in your leadership and life?

Quotes Worth Noting

Four Words: “ And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, and it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.” The Bible, Genesis 1:3 KJV

Christ’s Birth: “So, they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” Luke 2: 16-19

*From – How the Grinch Stole Christmas! By Dr. Suess

Leadership and Life Journal: A new way to look at the important things you already know. Subscribe to Leadership & Life Journal.


    It’s how you look at it

    This week I drove to The Tutwiler Barber Shop, where I get a monthly cut with my barber Mimi, is located in the historic Tutwiler Hotel in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. When I walked into the shop, I could see that Mimi had blade in hand and was just about the finish another client’s hot shave. Since I had a few minutes, I walked through the back door and down the hall to get a cup of coffee. That quick detour took me past the hotel janitors’ storage area and locker room. The door was wide open, so I peeked in.

    Across the room, past the cleaning supplies, brooms and vacuum cleaners, I  saw a pink poster board (shown on the left) taped on the side of an olive-green locker, which was tattooed with a lifetime of dents and scrapes. The heartfelt words hand-printed by three members of the hotel janitorial staff stopped me in my tracks. If you can’t make out the words on your screen, it reads:   

    “It has been awesome to watch all of us adapt to our new changes and the entire housekeeping team sparked this whole new world. I’m forever grateful and just thank you so much. Please enjoy your ‘Fuel the Clean!’”

    I have no idea what “Fuel the Clean!” means, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that three $12 an hour laborers, who clock in daily to do a thankless job, took time out of their paycheck-to-paycheck life to reflect on the bigger picture of 2020. They then stepped up to publicly show appreciation for their fellow workers who adapted to meet this change head on. Writing technique aside, we can all sense the heartfelt message intended to remind workers of a group of exhausted folks, “who sparked this whole new world,” that they too are essential workers.  

    On November 8, 2020, Alex Trebek, the legendary host of the TV gameshow Jeopardy, died after a long battle with cancer. Before he died, he recorded this message which was shown on Thanksgiving Day. “In spite of what America and the rest of the world is experiencing right now, there are many reasons to be thankful,” he told viewers. “There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbors, and that’s a good thing.” He concluded with: “Keep the faith; we’re going to get through all of this, and we will be a better society because of it.”

    I hope Alex is right. I guess it all depends on how you look at it.  

    Journal Entry: I have a new ground rule now. When I meet with or talk with clients and other people I know well, no one is allowed is begin a sentence with “In this time of unprecedented change… , When this is over, we will… , The light at the end of the tunnel… , or any related victim-like “we can’t until” statements. From three housekeeping leaders who clean the presidential  suites and the a famous TV star who spent many nights in them, the message is the same:  it depends on how you look at what you can’t control in your leadership and life.    


    “Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.” – George Carlin

    “Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?” – Shannon L. Alder

    “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – the Book of Matthew 17:20 (New International Version)

    Leadership and Life Journal: A new way to look at the important things you already know. Subscribe to Leadership & Life Journal.


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