It is my very favorite time of year, despite the fact that I hate the cold like Superman hates Kryptonite. I love watching the snow fall, but rarely go out in it because when I get cold I feel very sick. Poor circulation makes me the literal version of Queen Elsa from Frozen (and let me tell you, the cold DOES bother me!). Aside from my normal temperature issues, I love everything about this time of year. I always have. It’s just so special. A wonderful celebration of the night Hope was born into a sad, lost world. I love giving to those in need at Christmas time to give a bit of encouragement. I love remembering The Baby in a manger who is now the King who lives within my heart. I love that God is such a huge part of every aspect of this season.

I have been dealing with frustrating, painful stomach complications for months, and am on the right track to recovery but not quite out of the woods yet. I feel like I’m doing the cha-cha; I take two steps forward, then one step back. I’ll feel good one day and bad the next. My hope is that this is just part of the healing process, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating on the bad days. So I haven’t really left my home in quite some time, aside from going to several doctor appointments and procedures. It’s amazing what you can do to occupy your time when stuck inside. I read, I write, I shop (my addiction), I organize Candy Cane Kids, make recipes, and watch lots of movies. I was watching the Christmas Cake Wars on the Food Network last night. In the finale, teams were tasked with making a Rudolph cake. One of the team members said something to the affect of “Rudolph would be nothing without Santa”. That got me thinking (no surprise – my mind is always running in some direction without ceasing) about how similar we all are to that beloved reindeer with the bright red nose.

Rudolph achieved celebrity status long ago when he had a catchy tune written about him and his journey to success as the lead reindeer for Old Saint Nick’s sleigh. Children and adults alike still sing this anthem every time Christmas rolls around, but his fame didn’t stop there. There’s been movies made about him, clothes and accessories made with his face on them, I even have his ornament hanging on my tree – bright red nose and all. Rudolph is an American staple at Christmas time, but his story wasn’t always so bright. He was different from the others and made fun of because of his shiny nose. Had it not been for Santa noticing his unique capabilities and giving him a chance, poor Rudolph would have lived a sad, lonely life as an outcast.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I haven’t completely lost my marbles (yet). I realize the story of Rudolph is just that, a story. But it can be very relatable if examined from a Biblical perspective. Stay with me here…

I was diagnosed with a “terminal” illness at six months old. I have always been very different from my peers. I couldn’t run or jump with the other children. I found sweet friends here and there, but even from a young age I felt the sting of being left out because I was different. I’ve felt that my whole life in different areas. Take me at face value and I’m nothing special by this world’s standards. As far as physical abilities, I am “total care”, meaning I require round-the-clock, minute-by-minute, in-depth care from competent, trained caregivers. I am essentially one step up from being deemed a “vegetable” by the medical community. I have no control of my muscles with the exception of one thumb and finger. From the world’s perspective I am a freak, of lesser value than other “normal” people. Just plop a big red nose on me, I’m Rudolph. Had God not looked upon me with favor and given me a special purpose in life, I would have lived out my days in hopeless despair, merely awaiting the end to come. But God in His goodness took the broken pieces of my life and made something beautiful of it.

When you really think about, we are all like Rudy the red nosed reindeer; full of quirks and oddities that may cause us to be seen as strange or of lesser value. But we have the freedom to know the God of the universe who so loved us that He died for us because we are that special to Him. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our sins. The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healedIt doesn’t get any better than that. That’s even better than getting picked to fly Santa’s sleigh! The things that make us different or weird to others make us extra special in His eyes. Don’t hide what makes you different. Shine bright! You’ve been chosen by the King of Kings because you’re not like everyone else. If that doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will.

Perhaps this Christmas season, the song Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer will have much more meaning as we focus on how blessed we really are.

Merry Christmas!

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