Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. I love the music, the memories, the traditions and the chance to annually think about Burl Ives.
His memory returns with the annual airing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Ives is the voice of Sam the Snowman who narrates the “enhanced” story of Rudolph.
Rudolph and his elf buddy Hermey don’t fit in with the others. Rudolph looks different than the others. Hermey is not interested in making toys. In an odd plot twist, Hermey wants to be a dentist. Not surprisingly, his elf supervisor is upset with the unproductive Hermey. So the two outcasts set off to find their fame and fortune.
The part of the story that resonates with me these days is when Hermey and Rudolph find their way to the Island of Misfit Toys. All of the toys on this island are castoffs because they are flawed or deemed as worthless. There is a “Charlie in the Box” and a train with square wheels. A boat that sinks in water and a squirt gun that shoots jelly. All of these flawed toys are banished to the Island of Misfit Toys.
That is how I picture so many sad and tired followers of Jesus. They see themselves as misfits. They believe they are flawed and not worth much of anything. They have allowed a perceived idea of what a “good” Christian should look like to cause them to feel like they don’t measure up. The doubts overwhelm them. Discouraged followers of Christ start thinking thoughts like these.
I don’t have theological training.
I can’t sing well.
I am not a good teacher.
I am afraid to share my faith.
I feel awkward in groups.
I am not a leader.
I don’t have much to offer.
But that is not how the Bible describes a follower of Christ. Every Christian is described as being part of the body of Christ. Scripture makes it clear that every part of the body of Christ is vital to the healthy function of the church. Henri Nouwen wrote that every follower of Jesus has a God designed role.
“We seldom realize fully that we are sent to fulfill God-given tasks. . . . We act as if we were simply dropped down in creation and have to decide how to entertain ourselves until we die. But we were sent into the world by God, just as Jesus was. Once we start living our lives with that conviction, we will soon know what we were sent to do.”
So if you are feeling like a misfit toy this Christmas season you can trust this truth. You have a divine purpose.
God does not create misfits. He creates people in His image with value and great worth. Satan would like you to retreat to your own island of misfits to feel sad and worthless. But God has another gathering place in mind. The Island of Grace. On that island you are not a misfit. You are a beloved child of God. You are a saint. And in this wonderful place there are no misfits. Every blemish makes you more valuable, not less. The miracle of Christmas makes us friends to the King. Paul made that abundantly clear with these words of encouragement to the Church in Rome.
So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. (Romans 5, NLT)
Friend of God? Hard to feel like a misfit if you believe that is true.