Don’t we all (well, maybe only some of us) just LOVE to watch those fun, old Christmas specials in December on TV? How the Grinch Stole Christmas (spoiler alert: Christ was still born in Bethlehem! Christ is the reason for Christmas in the first place, NOT all the “things, things things!” ) and Frosty the Snowman ( which doesn’t hold a melted candle to Raymond Brigg’s THE SNOWMAN) are just a few that I think of right away. Doesn’t seem to matter how olde I get.. I am still there with a steaming mug of hot decaf, feet crossed and up on the who-cares coffee table, wrapped in a blanket, waiting to hear the story I have heard over and over again. Then we have our favorite parts to those specials, don’t we? To watch the Grinch lying, for instance, to little Cindy moments before he has “krupt” to the chimney to stuff the tree up (how COULD he??!) and the emotion of the child over the puddle that once was the magical Frosty. There is also (and if you have NEVER seen The Snowman, created in the early 80’s with award -winning, hauntingly beautiful music, you are truly missing out) a similar scene where Raymond Brigg’s snowman is suddenly no-more and there is deep sadness (conveyed only by the melted snow and the young boy silently hunched over it). We love to watch and maybe too to shed a tear again as if we are 5 or 6, watching these programs anew. I love the creativity in the stories…how they all come together…but then there is Rudolph. As one gets older and lives with a child with disability even the Christmas specials start to look different…at least that’s how I felt as I watched this classic this year. Donner’s wife was newly delivered , and we learn that he and his wife have given him the beautiful name of Rudolph. Everything is great until we quickly find out that this beautiful creature she bore doesn’t look like all the other reindeer(this is very true to human life sometimes too!) His dad quickly tries to hide the “abnormality” of the red nose. He even stoops to use dirt to cover it up in an effort to make his son fit in with all the other reindeers. A quick fix. Can you imagine? Good thing this dirt didn’t make Rudolph sick, breathing it in through his wonderful nose. Good thing Donner was unsuccessful. Next, Santa arrives on the scene to see the little Buck. Jolly old Saint Nick shows up but his first remarks are negative ! No “HO HO HO!” but more like an unspoken “Oh, no!” There might even be consequences because of the red nose. WHAT IS THERE PROBLEM? Then we have the other reindeer deliberately leaving Rudolph out of their games. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING and HOW did they learn to be exclusive?..hmmm could their attitudes have stemmed from those of their rigid parents? Probably. But we SENSITIVE parents and caretakers of those who TRULY look and behave differently, are left only to imagine. If this isn’t enough, we learn in the story about the misfit toys..the ones that aren’t quite right. The misfits are stricken from living where all the typical toys live…those that the girls and boys are SURE to want, and instead are segregated. who would want them? I wonder who decided to put them there ? Yes, these toys have a marvelous, tenderhearted lion to watch over them in their separate living space (likely meant to be a higher being) but it takes Rudolph’s coming to the island (that would otherwise have been neglected), however, with the light of his God-given nose and the Holy Spirit nudging Santa to use Rudolph’s disability-turned-gift instead of judging him by it!
At first glance, in real life, WE don’t see straight. We, like this Santa, see the difference or differences standing out with the same Santa- negativity illustrated here. Left to our own small mindedness and devices, we too would be saying “oh, no”. We instead have to pray for God to stretch us and to remove the scales from our eyes so that we can see the delight of the “shiny nose” that is built into our children…our different but God-given children. Maybe we still don’t SEE the gift yet even after we have been praying and praying. Despite this, we must remember that God’s timing is perfect and He will reveal all to us in that.
John 7:24 says do not judge by appearances but judge with right judgement
We have to teach others, perhaps by example, to do this