Tuesday, December 20, 2005

December, 2005: What would Jesus say about Rudolph

For a story with such humble beginnings — a young couple, a newborn and a stable — we sure have piled on the glitz. Seemingly unsatisfied with the sparkles brought to the Christ child by the angels and kings, we’ve added in Santa, reindeer, presents, elves (indeed the entire North Pole), Christmas trees, stockings, cookies, candy, spectacularly lit houses and streetscapes, carols and hot buttered rum. And new this year, the dispute between “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas.” It’s a lot for one babe’s birthday celebration. How would our Savior comment on the phenomenon we know as modern day Christmas?
Let’s ask Him.
What are Your thoughts on Santa?
            Santa’s got guts. Sneaking into strangers’ houses to give them gifts — what an example of brave Christianity. This Christmas, sneak into someone’s life and leave them a gift without waiting for one in return. Think of what our world would be like if everyone were as sharing as Santa.
What do You have to say about the 12 Days of Christmas?
            Twelve days? The reason I was born, the reason I came into the world, was so that we would have 365 days of Christmas. 365 days of love. Of peace. Of joy. Twelve is not enough. Work for more.
Could You comment on the elves?
            Elves set a great example for the rest of humanity. Work hard. It doesn’t matter if you’re short, or if your ears are too big, or if your feet are too long, or if you live in a location that’s less than desirable. Work hard at everything you do. And while you’re working, sing.
Do you know Frosty? What do you think?
            Frosty is great. He’s not afraid to melt. You can’t live your life in fear of melting. You can’t be afraid of the heat. So get out there, and live the way you are called to live. Find yourself a magic hat and go make friends with all the townspeople you can. It’s worth the risk of melting.
What about the Grinch?
            The Grinch reminds me of a lot of the leaders I knew back in my days of teaching. But the Grinch could not stop Christmas from coming. He took the presents, the decorations, even the roast beast, but it came anyway. Let the Grinch be a reminder to all that nothing can stop Me from entering the world. For I am Love.
            Make sure you spend as much time getting your soul ready for Christmas as you spend getting your house ready. Make sure the Light inside your heart is just as bright as the ones on your bushes.
And what about Rudolph?
            Think of where we would be if Rudolph had decided to change the color of his nose so he would look like all the other reindeer. God gave Rudolph that red nose. How wonderful it is that he is not ashamed of it. He lets it shine. He leads the way. He uses his nose to serve the world. Everyone has the equivalent of Rudolph’s nose somewhere in his or her being. Find what you have. Share it.
Most importantly, “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”?
            Does it matter? I gave you the jobs to do. I made it clear. Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty. Clothe the naked. Welcome the stranger. Visit the sick and imprisoned. Worry less about what you say and more about what you do. Get so busy doing My work that you don’t have time to get into debates about two-word phrases. Let your life’s work show your beliefs. St. Francis of Assisi said it well: “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.”

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