Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Our third film in the Reel-to-Reel Christmas Series is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” This Christmas classic has a bit of history to it.
Rudolph was the creation of Bob May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward. In August of 1939 May wrote a Christmas story to cheer up his daughter. When he shared the story at his company’s Christmas party, everyone asked him to use it to attract shoppers to store.
As he wrote the story, May’s first choice for the reindeer’s name was “Rollo” but he was told it was too carefree. He picked “Reginald” next but that was considered too royal.
Prior to the Clement Moore “Twas the Night Before Christmas, in 1823, Santa’s sleigh pulled by only one anonymous reindeer.
Montgomery Ward sold 2.5 million copies of the Rudolph story in 1939. It was reissued in 1946 and sold over 3.5 million copies. In 1949 Johnny Marks, May’s brother-in-law, wrote a song called Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Originally, Rudolph was sung by cowboy Gene Autry. His song has sold more than 12 million copies, second only to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”
And a little science to the story…
Nathaniel Dominy, an anthropology professor at Dartmouth College published a scholarly paper on Rudolph’s red nose in the journal Frontiers for Young Minds in 2015. In the paper, Dominy noted that reindeer eyes can perceive shorter wavelengths of light than humans, allowing them to see ultraviolet light; ultraviolet light, however, is much more easily scattered in fog, which would blind reindeer. Thus, Rudolph’s red nose, emitting longer-wavelength red light, would penetrate the fog more easily.
Maybe there’s some truth to the story….
If we are open to look, see and hear, we can find many lessons in the story of Rudolph. Stories like Rudolph’s capture our imagination. They resonate with ‘something’ deep within us. That’s what makes them so powerful and well-loved all over the world. On a subconscious level and on a superconscious level they connect with our Spirit.
This passage from Life and Teachings of the Masters by Baird Spalding help us justify to be open to a metaphysical approach to Rudolph. Baird was on a spiritual pilgrimage in India and asked his guide Emil what he thought of the street performers in the square. His wise old guide said:
“These performers are called fakirs, and they are all the name implies. But underneath it all is a deeper spiritual meaning that few discern, and good will come of their antics someday. Their street magic is but the shadow of the thing from which it springs. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear can see the truth beneath it all.”
So, armed with the blessings of a Hindu mystic let’s look at this classic metaphysically:
The 8 reindeer each have characteristics that make the nocturnal flight possible:
- Dasher: represents out-of-the-box thinking
- Dancer: represents innate wisdom
- Prancer (Dancer’s twin) represents authentic integrity
- Vixen: represents a giving consciousness
- Comet: represents an internal locus of control
- Cupid: represents love
- Donner: represents inner strength
- Blitzen: represents an optimistic spirit
These reindeer represent qualities within us: out-of-the-box thinking, innate wisdom, love, and so on. They could also represent the Eightfold Path of Buddhism: Right understanding, right thoughts, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
The number eight also stands for balance and adjustment; magical alignments; the clearing away of obstacles and barriers; and karmic conformity, to name a few.
And laying sideways, the infinity symbol.
The Rudolph of us is that part of us that doesn’t fully comprehend that we are spiritual beings in human form, that we are divine beings having a human experience.
Santa is the Authentic Us, the Extraordinary Us, that encourages us to let our light shine, to use our unique gifts to bring peace and healing to the world.
The room where Santa finds Rudolph represents our ‘going into the Silence.’ It is there that our inner light, the truth of us, shines. It is there that we become one with our Christ nature.
The sleigh stands for our positive, giving state of consciousness which is our vehicle for unlimited prosperity and abundance.
Santa gave Rudolph a choice. He invited Rudolph to lead his sleigh. Rudolph could have refused, and we would have had quite a different story. Choirs would sing – Rudolph the Red-Faced Reindeer –because he would have missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
Rudolph could have kept his light hidden under a bushel. Instead he listened to that ‘Still Small Voice’ that says “will you guide my sleigh tonight? Will you let your light shine?”
That’s a great message for all of us: Let your light shine. Share your gifts with the world. Answer the call to express your divinity.
The original story is expanded into the film we were asked to watch this past week. The movie still has some of this original ideas and messages, but is expanded into more story.
The other cast of characters find it almost disturbing or disconcerting to see someone who is different than they are. Rudolph was ridiculed by the other reindeer and even his father was disappointed.
We find another outcast in Hermy, who wanted to be a dentist. The outcasts travel to the Island of Misfit toys where mismatched toys are just waiting to be loved and accepted.
The hero’s journey is clearly shown to us as Rudolph matures. When he goes back to find his family missing, he goes to rescue them from the Abominable Snow Monster. And even the Snow Monster learns a lesson…everyone can change.
It is not until Christmas Eve, the most important time of night for delivering of gifts, that Santa has an epiphany and realizes Rudolph is a gift to help him through the foggy world. Then, and only then, do the other reindeer accept him as their own. The lesson…maybe not judging others at first impression?
And Santa takes ALL the so called ‘misfit toys’ and again shows us that everyone belongs someplace.
So, this story has three elements: discrimination, epiphany, and redemption.
Discrimination regarding Rudolph because he is different looking; Hermy because he doesn’t fit into the ‘family’ business; the misfit toys because they are not what others expect; and even the Snow Monster because no one took the time to understand him.
And did you notice the Yucon Cornelous DIDN’T discriminate regarding sled dogs – he even had a poodle helping to pull the sled!
Epiphany for Rudolph’s Father as he realizes he was projecting his ideas of success on his son; Santa when he realizes Rudolph’s gift is exactly what he needs; Yukon Cornelius when he realizes he really wasn’t prospecting for gold or silver, but peppermint…because that is what was there! And Rudolph is reminded by the King of Misfit Island that we cannot run from our problems, “A living creature cannot hide itself.”
Redemption is found with Clarise because she stood by Rudolph even though the other reindeer made fun of him and she reminds us that there is always a tomorrow; and Rudolph is redeemed when he finds himself and doesn’t forget his promises to the other toys; and of course, Rudolph’s Mother…Mothers stand by their kids, most often, no matter what.
What did you find it the film?
What Reindeer games do we sometimes play?
Do you ever find yourself on the Island of Misfit toys?
What Would Jesus Say to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?
Whatever Jesus would say to Rudolph would be the same message communicated to the Rudolph within each of us. See how the message resonates with you.
First of all, from a blog by Unity Minister Rev Bill Holton, Jesus might say something like this:
“You know, Rudolph, sometimes we don’t recognize our greatest, most valuable gifts. Sometimes, they may even look like problems and embarrassments. But if we hold the faith, believe me, those problems will transform into the greatest gifts that the world needs.”
So, we need to look deep within ourselves, and acknowledge the issues that create the biggest problems for us. It may be a physical characteristic, an emotional issue, a quirky style preference, something that is ours to own, and we can’t understand why we got “stuck” with it. We can transform the thing into a great gift, with a powerful message to give the world. We must embrace it, love it, and be open enough – and wise enough – to see how our attitude about it transforms us.
Secondly, Jesus might say,
“And here’s a real keeper for you, Rudolph. Quite often in this world, your special gifts may be misunderstood. That happened with me, you know! The more I developed my Christ Consciousness, the more I became consciously one with God, and the more I was misunderstood by those who chose not to “get it.” So don’t worry, buddy, if people make fun of your nose, and judge you based on appearance, because you are a little different from others. Make it okay, and be kind to them. Love them, and see the Christ light in them. They really don’t know what they are doing.”
So we invite you to realize that others may misunderstand you as you begin using your gifts. As you strengthen your spirituality, and become consciously one with your divine nature, you may run into people who judge you, or make fun of you. Make it okay, and behold the Christ in them.
Finally, Jesus would probably sum it all up by saying,
“Here’s the deal, Rudolph! Regardless of what anyone tells you, no matter what … let your light shine!”