The Rankin-Bass animated classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, has been a Christmas tradition in my house for years. Though the animation is somewhat dated, the themes are timeless.
The central theme of the show is about “misfits,” those who just don’t seem to “fit in” with society. Rudolph is different than the other reindeer because of his red nose. His friend, Hermey the elf, doesn’t like to make toys and dreams of becoming a dentist. They team up after being rejected by their peers and travel together. One of their destinations is the “Island of Misfit Toys,” a refuge for atypical toys who believe that no child would want them.
While watching the story, I am often reminded of how “misfits” are woven into the story of Jesus. When the angels announced His birth that first Christmas, they could have announced it to anyone, but chose a group of shepherds who were on the bottom rung of the social ladder. Throughout His ministry, Jesus focused on outcasts, including: prostitutes, tax-collectors, lepers, and others on the fringe of society. No one fell outside of His love, grace, and ministry.
I am also reminded that in God’s eyes, we were all outcasts. Isaiah states it clearly, “your sins have separated you from your God” (59:2). We are all separated from the Lord because of our sin.
The good news is that Jesus loves us, and the timing and nature of His love is key. He did not ask us to clean up our act so He can love us. He loves us “while we are still sinners” (cf. Rom. 5:8) and came to die so that we might live when we put our trust in Him.
God also chooses to use the “outcast,” you and me, for his glory. Just as Rudolph showed the way that foggy Christmas Eve, so we can be used of God to point others to “The Way”—Jesus Christ.
Who are the “other outcasts” in your sphere of influence? How can you point the way and reach them with the good news of God’s unconditional love in Christ?