For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Last night, I watched the 1964 classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It is my favorite Christmas movie. One of the things I like most about Rudolph is the fact that it took a village to raise him.
As a reminder, Rudolph is born with a peculiar red glowing nose. Everyone, including his father, has an issue with his red nose. Rudolph’s father tried to cover his nose so he would fit in with the rest of his peers and would have a chance to follow in his father’s footsteps to lead the sleigh of Santa Claus to deliver all the toys to all the children around the world on Christmas Eve.
When the fake nose is uncovered, Rudolph must endure jokes, taunts, and rejection. He is labeled a misfit. Even, Santa Claus rejects poor Rudolph. The budding reindeer is pushed away by all except one, Clarice, the young female reindeer who expresses an interest in Rudolph. She helps him see his nose as a unique feature to be celebrated.
Just as Rudolph and Clarice are about to walk off into the sunset, her father stops the pair and forbids his daughter from interacting with Rudolph. The rejected reindeer decides to run away from home.
During his journey, Rudolph runs into other misfits – the elf who wants to be a dentist and the miner who can’t find any treasure and whose dogs don’t know how to drag his sleigh. As they are running from the abominable snowman, who keeps finding them because of Rudolph’s nose, they bump into the Island of Misfit Toys. The place is filled with toys whose design flaws cause them to be rejected. Even though Rudolph and his gang fit in with the misfit toys, the leader of the island refuses to let them stay. He says that humans can’t hide from life’s difficulties. He allows them to stay the night only. The leader also asks Rudolph to find a home for the collection of toys.
To spare his newfound friends’ lives, Rudolph leaves in the middle of the night so they won’t attract the attention of the dangerous snowman. In the meantime, Rudolph’s father sets out to find his son who has now been missing for months. Even though the father tells his wife to stay home, she and Clarice follow decide to find Rudolph on their own.
Eventually, Rudolph and everyone looking for him end up in the cave of the abominable snowman. The snowman strikes Rudolph, knocking him unconscious. However, Rudolph’s friends find them just in time. Through a series of trickery and teamwork, they disarm the snowman. The elf lures the snowman outside and the miner uses his tools to loosen some of the cave’s rocks to knock him out the snowman. Then, the elf uses his dentist skills to remove the snowman’s teeth. When he awakens toothless, the snowman still tries to be a threat, but the miner rushes him and all of them go off the cliff.
Fast Forward, Rudolph, his parents, the dentist elf, and Clarice return home safe and sound. They are mourning the loss of the miner, who surprises everyone, returning with the abominable snowman, who has now been redeemed and reformed.
The village finally accepts Rudolph and as the story goes Rudolph ends up having to save the day with his nose. He guides Santa’s sleigh after all and saves Christmas. My favorite part is how Rudolph keeps his promise and returns to the land of misfit toys to find homes for all the “flawed” toys.
Even though this children’s movie is over 50 years old, I still tear up every time I watch it. As I was watching this time, I realize that it is also an analogy for the life of the believer.
Before Christ, we were all misfits. Living on the island of misfits, we were separated from God. However, God saw beyond our “flaws” and our sins. God saw what he created us to be – the image of God. Even when we miss God’s love because we are focused on the past or focused on the things that we don’t like about ourselves, God is always reaching out to us to remind us that God’s love never fails. In fact, like Rudolph, sometimes the thing that we like least about ourselves becomes the very thing that God uses to spread love to others.
This Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, let us not forget the truth of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God didn’t save us because we are perfect or try to achieve perfection. God does not care about our flaws. God simply wants us to believe in the Son he sent.
We all have a shiny red nose that makes us stand out from others. We all, in some way, shape, or form, are misfits, but we are all God’s beloved misfits.
Prompt for Thought: Reflect on the story of Rudolph. If time permits, watch the movie. If time does not permit, take a listen to the theme song, https://youtu.be/1FuF7H0uJww. Where do you see yourself in Rudolph’s story? Think about a “flaw” that God has turned into an asset or think about a time when God showed your love even when others rejected you.
Prayer for the Journey: God, we thank you for making us each unique and special. While we may not understand them, we thank you for our design “flaws.” Thank you for seeing our uniqueness through your eyes of love. Thank you for creating us in your image and likeness. Thank you for sending your Son into the world to remind us that even though we are misfits, we are your saved and beloved misfits. In Jesus’ name, Amen.