© Paul & Elizabeth Bryant
You may remember Paul and Elizabeth Bryant and their windows from back in the year, during the first Luxembourg lockdown.
Among all the gloom descending on the festive period, The Bryant's have confirmed that the new windows are complete. "One of the neighbors across the way shared a photo of the view from their children's bedroom," says an excitable Paul.
"Like each window mural I've done, the subject was carefully chosen considering the current situation," Bryant says, referring to the green furred character now adorning his panes. "I was first introduced to the Grinch as a children's book as a child. I always found the story fascinating and the illustrations wonderful. To me the Grinch's desire to stop Christmas from coming is parallel to the ongoing spread of Covid-19 and how that is preventing so many holiday traditions in 2020."
The Bryants are, like thousands in the Duchy gutted to see the Christmas Markets close this year, even if they do understand the requirements to do so. "Our beloved Christmas Markets, skating rinks, music, dancing, fires, food and gluhwein will not be part of this year's celebration. Shopping is limited. Holiday parties cancelled. To protect each other we cannot gather in large groups or greet with hugs and kisses friends and family." It is this that Paul finds the toughest, the distance. "Especially in this season, the distance we must maintain feels much more difficult. But that is what we must do as we are all in this together".
Ultimately the story of the Grinch is a story of redemption and finding the true meaning of Christmas and both Elizabeth and Paul evidently are as much in love with the Seuss text now as they were then. "After taking away from the Whos all of the gifts, trees, decorations and even their feast, 'every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small was singing, without presents at all!'.
As with his first splashes of colour, Paul notes these with a mix of melancholy and hope; "At least for me, the loss of so many events and celebrations this year has been very tough. But I also know that this year has inspired me to meet my neighbors, reconnect with old friends, invest my time in the people that I love most, and treasure moments of kindness and beauty. So then it is also a blessing, a gift. I know this is corny but I do believe it. We need to find our voice."
Christmas this year will definitely be different.
"Many have suffered medical or financial hardships across these many months," Bryant recognises of the fortunate situation Luxembourg is in, despite flaring numbers. "I cannot know of that suffering. But here and now, at this moment, Christmas is what we carry in our hearts. It is about the present and finding your particular celebration and letting go of expectations. Different doesn't mean 'less than'. Its up to each of us to make it special".
More so this year than in any in recent memory, it's about making the best of it.
"So put up some lights and tinsel," implores our budding window brightener. "Decorate, maybe paint your windows and sing carols. Best wishes to all."
As it says in How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
Welcome Christmas. Bring your cheer,
Cheer to all Whos, far and near.
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to grasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.