Friday, December 2, 2011

Longing To Be Like Rudolph

If I were to ask you about a Christmas movie you remembered from childhood, I bet a lot of you would immediately say Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

For some reason, Rudolph just seems to stick in our minds forever! How silly that one little rigid, clay reindeer can prick the hearts of children and adults for more than forty years. And how amazing, that no matter how many years pass, we always remember the words to the song!

If you ask me, there is a lot more to love about Rudolph than just a red nose, including his raspy voice, sweet personality, and selfless attitude. In fact, when I think about Rudolph, his shiny nose is not really what comes to mind at all.

You see, Rudolph lived a pretty hard life. He was born into a family that loved him, but desperately wished he were different. As a result his father Donner being ashamed of Rudolph's physical attributes, and because he did not look "normal" like all the other reindeer, he caused Rudolph to feel ashamed as well.  Unfortunately, Rudolph bought into the lie that he needed to try to fit in at any cost - even if it meant hiding who he really was (by covering his nose with black mud).

After a year of masking his flaws, Rudolph went out to flying practice. A little tussle with his friend Fireball caused his nose mud to fall off, and it all went downhill from there.

When everyone realized that Rudolph was different, he was ridiculed by peers and adults, and was eventually excluded and cast out, causing him to feel so humiliated that he ran away.

Sounds familiar doesn't it? Especially in today's society. Just like the real world -  people (kids and adults) can be mean, and their hurtful words and exclusionary tactics can cause permanent emotional damage.

So Rudolph ran away because he was ashamed of his imperfections, but it was exactly those imperfections, which caused him to meet up with Hermey -an elf who wanted to be dentist, and was who was feeling like an outcast as well.

Hermey and Rudolph were both desperate for acceptance. They were searching for someone, some place, some situation, where they would fit in and be accepted. They longed to be loved and accepted. Their hearts needed to know that they mattered, and that they had a purpose. And they found all those things in each other, and the journey that they embarked upon together.

I bet most of us would admit that there have been times when we felt a lot like Rudolph or Hermey.

Unaccepted. Criticized. Flawed. Different. Unloved. Cast out. Imperfect. Excluded. Sad. Lonely.Wandering.

In fact, sometimes the holidays can bring on more of these feelings than any other time of the year.

How unfortunate that a season of the year which is supposed to bring inclusiveness and love, can sometimes leave us feeling excluded and unloved more than any other time of the year..... and that is exactly why Rudolph is such a great example at the holidays.

You see, although Rudolph intially felt defeated, he pulled himself together and went on a search for his purpose and meaning. And what he thought was a flaw about himself, is the exact attribute that allowed him to find new friends, and new meaning in life.
With each other's support, their eyes were opened to see that even if they were 'misfits', that didn't have to stop them from pursuing something great. Yet the real change came when they stopped focusing on themselves, and started focusing on the needs of others instead.

They helped the prospector, who was driven by greed of silver and gold, to see the importance of friendship. They saved all the misfit toys and helped them find good homes. They made personal sacrifices so they could search and rescue their loved ones. Then they changed the heart of the abominable snowman.

Last but not least, Rudolph went down in history, because he led Santa's sleigh through the dense fog and Christmas was saved. He enlightened Christmas for many children. He gained respect and adoration from all who knew him. He shed his light, and made a difference.

Okay, okay. I promise, I really do know that Rudolph is a fictional character. Really. But still, dont you just love what he teaches us?

We all feel flawed, insecure, less than perfect, and sometimes, may even like a full blown misfit.

But God loves misfits - and all of us misfits are accepted by Him, and created for a unique purpose. We can either allow our insecurities and imperfections to keep us bound in shame or lack of confidence, or we can turn them over to God and ask how He wants to use them in a special way.

Rudolph, Hermey, all the misfits, the prospector, the abominable snowmen - they all thought they didn't fit in for one reason or another - but when they believed in themselves, and began to focus on impacting the lives of others, their lives were permanently changed.

About eleven years ago, I adopted Jeremiah 29:11 as my life theme verse. In fact, I have often said that God stalked with me that verse for several years. It kept popping up everywhere, all around me, in the least expected places and in the most unusual of ways.

God continued to put Jeremiah 29:11 in my face, until I finally tucked it into my heart.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (NLT)

God sees our imperfections - in fact, He created them - and he has a predestined plan to use them to His glory - if we take our eyes off of ourselves, and place our eyes on Him instead.

There came a time in Rudolphs life, that he became immensely proud of his red nose - his light. He realized that his imperfection had a purpose, and it was good. He quit worrying about what others were thinking, and pursued the calling that he had been equipped to pursue.

John 1:4-5 says, "The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.The light shine in the darkness,and the darkness can never extinguish it." (NLT)

If we embrace what God calls us to do, then just like Rudolph, we can shed light in the darkness too - His light.

(email subscribers may need to visit my blog to view the movie clip if you do not see it below)

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Kyla said...

So neat how God can really get His message across when wanting us to really understand a certain thing!
We just finished up a series at our church about how 'God doesn't call the equipped,He equips the called''s all just about focusing on Him who knows the plan, and saying 'Yes' to whatever He requires of us.
Thank you for sharing this Tracie!

Amy said...

Thanks for giving me a different perspective about the story of Rudolph! I have always loved to watch the show but in the past several years, cynicism has crept in and I saw it as a message that they used Rudoph in the end for their own gain and if he hadn't been able to help Santa deliver the toys, he would remain shunned by everyone. When I watch it this year, I will remember your blog and see it in a different "light".
Merry Christmas!