We went to pick out our Christmas tree yesterday. I can’t remember it ever being easier. I stood up the first tree I saw in our price range for Katie and the boys to examine. The boys saw there was plenty of room beneath it for Santa to stack gifts and instantly gave it their seal of approval. Katie fluffed a few branches like she was a maid of honor sizing up her best friend’s wedding dress, and she too quickly declared it to be a lovely tree. Less than a minute later one of the nice gentlemen at Home Depot was trimming it up and getting it ready for us to transplant in our living room.
We decided to take a look at some of the Christmas decorations when we went inside to pay. That’s when Elliott spotted Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. He was high up on a shelf; his red nose blinking a bright red light. I was suddenly reliving the Donald the Ghost Halloween story in Walmart when I ended up dragging home a 12 foot high ghost.
I scanned the boxes on the shelves below and found no Rudolphs available. I was relieved, yet at the same time somewhat disappointed. I could tell the boys wanted Rudolph. One of the workers nearby could tell the same thing, and moments later went scrambling 20 feet in the air to bring Rudolph the display version down. The boys watched like they were witnessing a fireman rescue a cat out of a redwood tree. Their cat.
After loading our tree in the back of the truck, it became clear there wasn’t a safe space remaining for Rudolph. I suggested hooking him to the front of the truck with a long set of reins and letting him lead us home. He has after all guided much longer trips. I was overruled. It was somehow a better idea for him to be in the front seat on Katie’s lap staring at me as I drove us home.
Needless to say I had plenty of inspiration and opportunity to consider this Rudolph character in the grand scheme of this Christmas season. I decided that the Rudolph story wasn’t as far removed from the real Christmas story as some might think. We are all flawed. I’ll be the first to say that I’m personally glad my flaw isn’t a shiny red nose that blinks uncontrollably. I’m afraid I would have to reconsider my opposition to a nose job. But I do recognize I am equally imperfect.
I think we sometimes forget that God didn’t send his Son to perfect the world. Or us. But instead to let us know in the face of our imperfections we are loved. He sent the One example of how we are to relate to one another: mindless of faults and failures. I need that example. I’m afraid when dealing with others not only am I infrequently mindless of their thoughts and failures, they are often the first traits I consider, if not seek out.
I was surprised that we ended up bringing Rudolph home with our Christmas tree yesterday. I was even more surprised that I found some deeper meaning in the song below: