The mood in the car on the way back from Thanksgiving wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic as it was on the way there. We were stuffed. We were spent. And we were a little stressed.
Add three days of holiday eating, one sleepless night and doctor calls due to a toddler’s overstuffed belly and ruptured eardrum, one Black Friday, 12 people in one house for three days, then news that’s not so encouraging, and you’re sure to find a carload of peeps ready for deep breaths and quiet space to regroup.
But the Christmas music played on.
We were blindly oblivious to the joy we could’ve received from the Christmas tunes until Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Then everything changed. The whole car woke up. And everyone started singing along.
What was it about this Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that had the power to light up a whole carload of travelers weary from the journey?
It was magical, powerful, noteworthy, at least for me, the one who’s hyperaware of just about everything. The joy lasted for one, maybe two minutes, the length of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s song, and that’s about it. Then everything returned to status quo.
That is, until the next day when we passed two freshly-built snowmen on the way out of the neighborhood. A similar glimmer of hope rushed through me. An innocence I desperately needed. A fresh perspective in the midst of the monotonous and mundane.
We passed those snowmen on the way out and in, out and in again. And as we passed, I felt gratitude for their creator, thankful for the frosty gift of simplicity.
So what is it about Rudolph and Frosty that light us up? Why do we listen to their songs? Why do we watch their shows year after year? Why do we buy stuffed Misfit Toys and Rudolphs with shiny noses? And why do we build Frosties with black hats and carrot noses?
I believe we deeply crave Rudolph and Frosty’s innocence. We’re desperate for the glimmer of hope they bring to the table. We long for things to be simple again, for days when all we need to worry about is singing and frolicking in the snow. We want to be jolly and happy, and wouldn’t it be awesome if all our cares washed away in the singing of one simple song? What can we do to bring back the days of old?
On the other hand, Rudolph and Frosty remind us we’re human. We relate to their simple, but profound stories. Rudolph and Frosty are courageous and bold, even in the face of adversity. They know they were created for a reason, and we see them most fully alive when they’re living in the center of their purpose. Hiding the best parts of us, letting our gifts and talents melt away into oblivion isn’t wise. It’s foolish. It’s a shame. We know we were made for more. We know there’s life and light waiting to shine in and through us.
So we watch. And we listen. We sing. And we build.
For Rudolph and Frosty represent you and me in the most simple, but profound of ways.
You and me – with gifts seen and unseen.
You and me – with gifts expressed and unexpressed.
You and me – with beauty and pain and everything in-between.
You and me – waiting for magical moments, ready to break free.
You and me – desperate for innocence and purity, longing for simpler days, slower days, days when we can give and share our gifts in community, days when we can just BE without fear of what MIGHT BE.
So yes, we watch. We listen. We sing. And we build.
Because Rudolph and Frosty? Their stories are our stories.