Union Ridge Church

Thursday, December 10, 2020

by Reverend Dan on December 10, 2020

"He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds."

                                                                                                Psalm 147:3


Rudolph the Reindeer was created in 1939 by Montgomery Ward to get children to buy Christmas coloring books. Originally his nose was not red because a red nose during the early 20th century was associated with someone who drank excessively. That worry was quickly abandoned so the story could center around Rudolph’s red nose and sales could increase.


Everything went along smoothly for twenty-fiver years until 1964, when Rankin/Bass had a major brainstorm and turned the story into a television special. They commissioned a Japanese puppet maker named Ichiro Komura to craft puppets made out of wood, wire, cloth, leather, and yak hair that stood less than one foot tall. They then moved the puppets in a painfully slow and tedious technology called “Animagic” in a Tokyo studio to create the television special that remains the most-watched Christmas TV special of all time.


The puppets sat in a Rankin/Bass production office in New York until the early 1970’s when Arthur Rankin, Jr. gave the puppets to his secretary as a gift. The puppets were sold on November 13th this year and brought over a quarter of a million dollars.


So, what does this story have to do with Christmas? Actually, it’s pretty simple. While it may have started as a purely commercial project, the TV special is a beautiful picture of those who are ostracized and live on the fringes of society just because they are seen as “different”. The reindeer with the shiny nose, the elf who wants to be a dentist, all the toys on the island of misfit toys, and even Bumble, who just wants to help. They are the reason Christmas morning dawns; to heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds” with the greatest gift of Christmas: Emmanuel, God with us.


"Father, Thank you for the simplicity of Christmas and the message it brings.  In Jesus' name, AMEN."



Christmas Bonus:

Gene Autry didn’t want to record the song, but his wife convinced him to at least put it on the “B” side of a record, and it is now history as Autry sang the two most popular children’s holiday songs of the 20th century: “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, and “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”.