Monday, December 19, 2011

Baptized By Snow

I’d come to the diner to get something to eat,
then spied the old man from my window seat
he tugged at his collar, beat snow from his chest,
squatted out of the wind, as if trying to rest

The warmth of my table soon brought with it shame.
I yearned for his story, I longed for his name
the wind cut through my coat as I crossed the street
and asked this vagabond in to get something to eat

He confirmed he was hungry and gladly came along
to the warm cozy diner filled with Christmas song
we both then returned to that window seat
and I begged him to order all he wanted to eat

From neighboring tables came looks of alarm,
as if his mere presence should cause any harm
he showed no concern for these looks behind his back
as he ordered eggs over easy, toast and coffee - black

The warm mug of coffee never left his old hands
as he told of his travels across these cold lands
there was light in his eyes and heart in his voice
when he spoke of the reason that all should rejoice

I was baptized by snow on that cold winters day
and I suddenly saw things in a different way
he left me changed in both heart and head
with the things that he shared, the words in red

‘Twas a cold winters day when he came to town
his burden so heavy, he briefly laid it down
a sack full of booklets that shared the good news
spoke a truth too narrow for some people’s views

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A World Full of Misfits

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas television family favorite that first aired on Sunday December 6, 1964. This stop motion animation classic, produced by Rankin and Bass, brings focused attention to the misfit feelings in all of us. The story is narrated by the voice of Burl Ives (as Sam the snowman), singing and telling the tale of a reindeer named Rudolph, born at the North Pole with a glowing red nose. As a yearling, lack of family support and severe peer ridicule leads Rudolph to feel himself an outcast and run away from home.
        Meanwhile, a North Pole elf named Hermey tackles his own problems. Wishing to be a dentist instead of a toymaker, he consistently disappoints the Head Elf. He too feels unwanted and alone and decides to leave in pursuit of his own dreams. Out on their own, Rudolph and Hermey eventually meet up and join forces. The bond of being unique draws them together and they decide to be misfits together. Now "independent together", they set out to seek "Fame and Fortune", singing the song of the same name.
        On their journey, Rudolph and Hermey meet another unique individual, a prospector named Yukon Cornelius who is determined to find silver and gold. Adventuring with Cornelius, the two misfits eventually end up on the shore of The Island of Misfit Toys.

The island is a sanctuary where defective and unwanted toys are sent. Among the inhabitants are a misnamed, but otherwise normal Jack-in-the-box named Charlie-in-the-box, A spotted elephant, a toy bird that swims instead of flies, a cowboy that rides an ostrich, a train with square wheels on it’s caboose, a boat that sinks, a plane that cannot fly, a squirt gun that shoots jelly and a dolly for Sue with no apparent defect.
        Most interesting however is King Moonracer, a winged lion, who acts as the island’s ruler and lives in the large castle atop a hill on the island. As sovereign ruler he enforces the rules, deciding who is permitted to stay on the island. However, he has no apparent ability to meet the deepest need of the island inhabitants, their need for unconditional love.
        After leaving in the middle of the night, to spare his new friends from imminent danger and then subsequently coming to their rescue, Rudolph is welcomed back home at the North Pole, just in time to also heroically save Christmas by becoming Santa’s headlights and cutting through the worst of storms. The first stop for Santa on that foggy Christmas Eve became the Island of Misfit Toys to meet the needs of the toys there by providing them to loving boys and girls around the world.
        This is one of my favorite Christmas stories. Perhaps it is because the deep felt needs of misfits around the world really can be and are met by the unconditional love that God so graciously gives. He truly is the only light that can burn through the fog that still blinds some men to the truth.

I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me
 will not remain in darkness. John 12:46