Rudolph The Light Bearer
The Rev. Calvin Davis
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
1 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari′ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary said,
Mary’s Song of Praise
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
Cover of Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May, 1939
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you'll go down in history!
What would Christmas be without Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer? Because he had a shiny nose, all the other reindeers laughed at him and called him names. Why? Rudolph was different; and, because he did not fit the profile of what a reindeer ought to look like. It is often time very difficult to like something or someone who is different, isn't it? It was only when his difference was seen as an asset, not a liability, that the other reindeer began to love him.
For me, this children's song has an adult, hidden theme. When you are different, you are out of the main stream of humanity and are thought to be "strange" or "weird". You might be considered an outsider and a misfit. When you suddenly "strike gold" after winning the lottery or Powerball, you might find people that are now your friends who have disliked you for years, or even worse, simply ignored you. We might call these individuals as "fair weather" friends. So, who is really our friend after all? He is the one who shares the light of Christ with you. The ultimate true Light of the world is Jesus Christ who shows us the Way, the Truth, the Life and the Light. And because of that reality, we are to shine the Light of Christ in the foggy darkness of a sinful and broken world until He comes again.
Weep not for those who are asleep in Jesus. Weep for those who have not seen the light of Christ. Give flowers to the living, not to the dead. Show your light and your love to them while they are with us and are able to share your light within you.
In Baptism, we become the "Rudolph" of the world, letting "your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Jesus does warn us that as the light bearers, the world will be like the other reindeers in the Rudolph story, they will hate you and will call you names. Be dare to be different. Be an active and drawing light as a Christian witness.
Our prayer, for the Advent Season, is found in the closing verses of the Book of Revelation of Saint John. "Surely I am coming soon. Amen, come Lord Jesus."
41st ordination anniversary
Fr. Calvin L. Davis