Chickpastor’s Advent Calendar, Day 6: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

I watched this again yesterday, and was totally unprepared for the sweet story behind the silly song. I remembered this movie from watching it as a kid, and vaguely had memories of the Abominable Snowman being actually a nice guy, but that’s kind of it.

This is right up there with the Grinch, as far as messages go! Of course, no mention of God or Jesus in yet another Christmas special, but a message of inclusion and celebrating each person’s gift that is surely Jesus-ish.

The Island of the Misfit Toys was my favorite part. Everything was right with these toys except for one thing. The Jack in the Box was actually a Charley in the Box…the nesting dolls accidentally had a mouse as their teeniest doll…the elephant had the wrong kind of spots. ADORABLE, and so, so sad.

It made me think of camp. I went to a Lutheran camp called AFFIRM when I was in high school, and it was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, faithwise. I came from a culture of Christians in the American South where people talked about being imperfect, but Lord help you if you actually WERE imperfect and let it show. There was a judgmental spirit there that was so tough to live with! Yes, I was hearing about grace at my Lutheran church, but also living with the reality that this form of grace did not exist among the Christians that I knew.

At camp, I found my people. Being Lutheran in the South mostly means that you are a misfit toy. You look the same on the outside (or maybe not….Lutheran youth tend to be goth or whatever the current incarnation of that is!), but you feel WRONG. I remember it painfully well. But camp was like the Island of Misfit Toys. My friends were misfits in one way or another, and so was I, but we were all so beautiful and could see that in each other at camp.

I work there sometimes, now, as an “old” person. I hope and pray that they still find it to be an island of misfit toys. I think it’s not bad theology to say that we’re all misfit toys, whether we admit it or not, and we have crazy beautiful misfit gifts to put out there in the world.

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