One of the most popular Christmas specials (at least in my mind) will always be Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Now I know you’re thinking, “Ok Bradford, Christmas is over. Why are you talking about Rudolph?” Great question.
Do you remember the part of the story where Rudolph visits the island of misfit toys? It’s a rather sad part of the show because the misfit toys don’t have a home where a child wants to play with them. After all, who wants to play with a toy that messes up? A Jack-in-the-box that doesn’t spring on cue? A toy train with square wheels? So they are thrown to the side, left to the despair of loneliness and inadequacy. Have you ever felt like a misfit and a mess-up? That maybe you live on an island where you go when nobody wants you?
What brought this classic Christmas tale to mind is the book of Genesis in the Bible. I started reading through a daily Bible this month because I have never read it cover to cover before. It has struck me that the fathers of our faith, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were misfits and messed up quite a bit. Abraham nearly devastated a city because he lied about Sarah being his sister so the people wouldn’t kill him. Isaac did the exact same thing with his wife! Jacob, in tandem with his mama, cheated older brother Esau out of his birthright and blessing as he fooled his aging father, Isaac. There is a list a mile long to recall of biblical mess-ups. David, Solomon, Paul, and Peter to name a few.
I love the image of the lion that watches over the misfit toys. He cares for them. He loves them. And He works to find them a home. I immediately think of the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world. We are all misfits with a trail of mess-ups behind us. Jesus wants to care for us and love us, to reshape us so that He can send us to a place here on earth to spread the news of His love.
Next week, my church is starting a series titled “No Perfect People Allowed” and you can bet that the vision will be cast that the church should be a place where misfits and mess-ups can be safe and secure so that Jesus can heal and shape them into the people He wants all of us to be. And that’s what it’s all about!