Hope you're having a super sweet and joy-filled week before Christmas! And I hope it's not getting too…silly, I guess. You know how Christmas just gets kinda goofy! Grown-ups walking around with Santa hats and antlers on, wearing big red Rudolphy noses. Which is awesome, f'r sure! It's just that…
Huh? Where does Rudolph came from? Oh, well, that's an interesting story…
This dude named Robert May used to tell his daughter about the crimson-nose caribou every night before bed. Each nightly re-telling got more and more elaborate. At first he called him "Rollo the reindeer". Then it changed to "Reginald". They both finally decided they liked "Rudolph" best. Unfortunately, he was different, born with a nose "as red as a beet and twice as big and bright".
Came in handy, tho'!
One Christmas eve the regular reindeer were so blinded in the extraordinary dark fogginess that they "almost hit a plane" and "got tangled in trees". So Ol' Santa followed the red glowing light to Rudolph and had the "greatest idea in all of history!"
And you know the rest!
You may not know that in the original, Santa told Rudy that "on judgment day, he would get as many gifts as the happier, handsomer reindeer"!
"Judgement Day"?! Seriously, Santa?
Folks at Montgomery Ward where Bob May worked, had heard him talk about it and made him tell the story at the company Christmas party. Loved it! They made a book of it for the Montgomery Ward Santas to give away to kids who came to the "workshops" and in five Christmases, 7,000,000 were out there!
Robert's brother-in-law took out the lines about Judgement Day and the "greatest idea in all of history" (it was good, but not that good!), made the words rhyme and put it all to music…Bing didn't want to touch it. Neither did Dinah Shore. The "Singin' Cowboy" Gene Autrey had a song he just knew was gonna be a Christmas blockbuster ("If It Doesn't Snow This Christmas"…Remember that one?) He needed a song for Side B (Remember those?)…
BAM! "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"! The second best-selling Christmas song of all time!
Kinda silly, really.
'Cept, Robert May made up the story for his youngest. She was struggling. With being different.
She was different from her friends. Just like Rudolph. She was different because her mother wasn't like their mothers. Mom never got out of bed. She had cancer. She didn't make it to Christmas, 1939. So Bob May's daughter Barbara was even more different. She didn't have a mom.
A couple walked through the streets of Bethlehem in a hurry. They looked like a normal pair with a baby on the way. But they weren't normal. And they weren't in a hurry. They were in panic! This Baby was coming! And they had no room nor help. Their families showed them nothing but backs turned and doors slammed. Unkind things had been said and untrue things believed. They were alone and afraid and a poor young man was trying to help a poor young girl be brave.
As silly as Rudolph is, it's really the story of two who were alone and afraid…the story of a poor young man trying to help a poor young girl be brave.
As normal as folks look, everywhere you go this Christmas, there are those who are having a tougher or sadder time than you'd imagine, just looking. For every red reindeer nose you see during the day, there's one that's red at night from crying at home alone. For all the Christmas silliness, there's lots of Christmas sadness. Everywhere this Christmas, people are alone…or afraid…and trying their best to be brave.
Kindness…Gentleness…some kind, gentle words of encouragement at Christmas to hearts that others may miss…
THAT just may be "the greatest idea in all of history"!