I recently bought that Christmas classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and I learned a few things that I had forgotten, not having seen it in many years: 1. the animation is truly awful, very cheap stop action that is very disjointed; and 2. this tv show for kids has a fairly radical message with Christian overtones in it.
Rudolph is not like anyone else…he’s a freak…and he surrounds himself with other freaks…the elf who wants to be a dentist, the gold prospector who can’t find gold, and in fact, an entire island of outsiders….Rudolph and his friends visit the Island of Misfit Toys when he runs away from Christmastown…It’s filled with dolls and planes and trains and jack in the boxes that don’t do, or look like they are supposed to. They are what most elves consider the mistakes…creations that aren’t like they are supposed to be…so they are in exile on the Island of Misfit Toys.
I wonder sometimes…did Jesus ever have that feeling…that he’d been born on the Island of Misfit Toys…or the world of the misfit human family? Humanity was created to love God and one another and here we were, enslaving one another, killing one another, hating one another, judging one another…in short, not doing much loving of one another. And yet here he came, humble, lowly, a child born in poverty and oppression, a young man working construction in a backwater of the great Roman empire, an itinerate preacher who never had a home to call his own, a political prisoner, a martyr, a resurrected savior.
This one who was God, who had all power and might and existed outside of time and space and all the limitations of our understanding, set all of that aside and was born into this family of misfits that is humanity. He did it all…for you and for me, for all of us. He came so that we might know that we aren’t misfits at all, that we are as loved by the God who created us in the Divine Image as anyone, that we can never consider ourselves beyond healing, beyond hope, beyond love, because love is stronger that death or fear or despair.
In the Rudolph movie, when Santa comes to Rudolph to ask him to save the day, Rudolph has one condition, everyone on the Island of Misfit Toys has to be rescued from their exile and given to a child, who won’t care that they aren’t perfect, who will love them and cherish them into the complete existence that was meant for them.
The child born today, does nothing less than to rescue us from the idea that death or pain or loss or fear or despair will have the final say. The child does not see our imperfections for, in him, we are made perfect. And with the adoration of that child, we are cherished into the complete existence that is meant for each of us. Thanks be to God! Alleluia…Amen.
Pastor Michael Kirby