From Rudolph to Bethlehem

My delight of those dual low-pitched sagas was rather dampened in those pre-teen years by attacks on Rudolph and Frosty that we began conference from a pulpit. The recognition of a dual was adequate of a materialisation that they became black for preachers of what was wrong with a common Christmas celebrations. Rudolph and Frosty were dangerous diversions from a loyal definition of Christmas, we were told. We had to select between a opposite stories we were hearing. It’s possibly a ones about reindeer and snowmen or about a miraculous news that a Son of God had been innate in Bethlehem.

I did not demonstrate my gainsay vocally, though in my heart we motionless that we did not have to make that choice. Complaints about “the commercialization of Christmas” we could know and determine with. But this was a opposite criticism, about a calm of what struck me as dual pleasing stories that did not lure me in any approach to lessen my clarity of consternation per a birth of Jesus. The messages of a Gene Autry songs struck me as pleasant add-ons to a Christmas season. They might be opposite stories from a Bethlehem narrative, though they seemed to foster feelings and concerns that were not inapt for Advent.

While we got over my pre-teen delight of those songs, conference them in successive holiday seasons reminded me of my progressing displeasure with a homiletical condemnations of Rudolph and Frosty, and we kept reflecting on because we had wanted to come to a invulnerability of these tales. Even as a child we could simply poke holes in a plots. If a headlights on a family automobile were not unequivocally effective in creation a approach by complicated fogs, what good would a intense red nose be in a sled’s tellurian tour on a misty Christmas Eve? And a ridicule snowman portion as a pied piper figure to a throng of children? That was not a impetus in that we would have been prone to march.

Still, a stories contained themes that resonated simply with many of my possess childhood experiences. Any child who had been bullied on a stadium could simply brand with a reindeer about whom “all of a other reindeer used to giggle and call him names.” And adults were mostly discerning to boot a childhood fantasizings, though in this one box we could be positive that, whatever a grownup verdicts on a Frosty story, “the children know he was done of sleet and he came to life one day.”

These thoughts were eventually bolstered for me by J.R.R. Tolkein’s topic that angel stories go to “eucatastrophic” literary genre. The Rudolph and Frosty stories vaunt that “good catastrophe” pattern. The deserted reindeer unexpected becomes a favourite who creates a tour protected for others. And when Frosty is commencement to melt, and it looks like it is a finish of Frosty, “he waves goodbye saying, ‘Don’t we cry, I’ll be behind again some day.’” The Second Coming of Frosty!

These aren’t dangerous tales. To be sure, they can duty as reinforcements of a commercialization of what should be seen as a holy season. But so can a ideally approved carols that play over a orator systems during Macy’s. There is a eminence between a calm of a story and a use to that it is put in a broader culture.

As stories, a sagas of Rudolph and Frosty can indeed offer us good as pointers to a Bethlehem story. The Christmas summary of a angels is about a universe in that a common lights are not adequate to expel off a dim that oppresses a lives. As a light-provider, Rudolph’s heat fades into nullity when compared to what happened when unexpected “the excellence of a Lord shown around” a rope of shepherds given their sheep on a dim Palestinian night. The light that seemed there not usually unequivocally did “go down in history”—it still can't be outcast by a dim of a corrupted world. And when a Bethlehem Babe finished his conceivable mission, he outdid by distant Frosty’s guarantee to a children. Having degraded death, he will never warp away. Not usually will he lapse to make all things new, though “Lo, we am with we always, even to a finish of a age.”


* This essay creatively seemed in a Dec 22, 2015, emanate of FIRST THINGS and is reprinted here with permission.



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