Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1964

Rudolph is a normal reindeer, except that he has a birth defect: his nose. His nose shines so brightly, everyone turns their head.

Since he feels like a misfit, he joins other misfits and tries to make a new life for himself away from those who have called him names. Instead of seeing his nose as a gift, he sees it as a curse.

What makes you different from others? Rudolph’s nose didn’t make him feel special and useful until the end of the story. The ones calling him names didn’t realize that they had something that made them unique too. Some of us have to find out for ourselves what makes us special. We don’t all have gifts as obvious as the nose on our face.

This story is a family favorite every year. I especially love the part where Rudolph as a teenager gets called “cute” by a girl reindeer. He flipped out. It’s great to see someone feeling good about himself.

The ending shows the humility of a hero. Rudolph knew that he could help out by using his gift. He didn’t brag or flaunt it. He simply used it to help others.

Praying for Stuff, part three

Have you ever spoken bad words about someone and then realized they were in the room. You realized that when they said, “I can hear you.” I think it would freak out people who use God’s name in vain if God would respond in their hearing, “I can hear you.” 

Do you use helpful words? Join me at Seek God With Me. Today, I’m on the subject of how our words show our attitude.

Arrogant people speak with malice. The arrogant don’t really pray because they think they’re fine without God’s help. When we pray selfish prayers, we show our attitude in what we pray for. Since you and I have received God’s gift of repentance, we humble ourselves enough to use that gift and change our attitude. Then, you and I try to control our words in order to help others. Check out today’s post here.

It's A Wonderful Life, 1946, revisit

This movie is so good. Even though I’ve already reviewed it here, I can’t help revisiting it.

One of the things that I love about It’s A Wonderful Life is the filmmakers’ ability to show how a whole town is changed by one man’s self-sacrifice and fervent prayer.

We admire people in today’s world for these very things. You probably know someone who has given up their dreams to make someone else’s dreams come true. George Bailey is the hero of this movie because he made it a common practice to put aside his plans in order to help others.

Among those occurrences was the time he gave up his honeymoon money in order to help his Bailey Building & Loan customers during a crisis. Of course, Mary, his new bride, is the graceful heroine who was patient with him the whole time.

George helps out his community for years, and then another crisis hits. This crisis brings George to a new low. He’s so distracted by the crisis that he’s forgotten who he is. Clarence gives him the opportunity to remember who he is and refocus his efforts.

At one point, George wishes he’d never been born. A lot of people can identify with that feeling when they can’t see a way out of a problem they’re in. So Clarence helps distracted George find his way down memory lane, except things have changed in order to help George come back to reality. When George realizes the kind of man God has developed him into and the blessings God has given him, his wish changes direction and turns into a fervent prayer for God to allow him to get back to his wonderful life.

I love this movie’s encouragement for us to go out of our way to help others. George’s humility and “Do Unto Others” attitude strengthens the community he boldly stands up for.

Praying for Stuff, part two

Do you have a long wish list this Christmas? Some people are asking for needs and some are asking for wants. It’s hard to be the one in the neighborhood with the fewest toys. If that’s you and you have a real relationship with God, remember that other people see your relationship with God and wish they had that.

When you see your neighbors’ wealth and are tempted to wish you had all their stuff, remember to fight envy with compassion. Envy is from the fleshly part of you, but compassion is from the heart. According to Psalm 73:26, God is the strength of your heart.

You can pray for them, not that you would get what they have, but that they would get what you have.

Join me for more on this discussion at Seek God With Me.

A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965

I love Christmastime. The season is filled with generosity, beauty, and music. When I think of Christmas entertainment, one show that comes to mind is the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

Vince Guaraldi plays the familiar songs that make us all want to do the Snoopy dance. The idea that Charlie Brown is such a blockhead that he can’t even pick out a good Christmas tree is such a sympathy-generator. And the free-spirited dance time that breaks out when the kids are supposed to be practicing for the Christmas play makes me want to dance too.

But Linus is, in my opinion, the hero of the show. He’s the one who cheers up Charlie Brown and tells him to get refocused on what Christmas is all about. Linus speaks from the Bible about the birth of Jesus, quoting from Luke chapter 2.

When a popular family show that reappears every year at this time reminds the audience that Christmas is about Jesus, it makes me smile. I think we all have picked out a scrawny tree or bought a less-than-perfect present. I think we all need to relax and remember it isn’t about the things we buy. Christmas is about Jesus.

Praying for Stuff, part one

Many people love this season. It’s Christmas time. Everyone is making a list and checking it twice, trying to find sales for the naughty and nice. 

Some people have decided Santa can’t give them what they want. They’re asking God for specific gifts for their Christmas morning. What are you praying for?

When one person is mesmerized by an item in a Christmas catalog, telling it there’s “nothing I desire besides you”, another is trying to pay bills so their house is warm on Christmas morning. When one person calls receiving a certain piece of jewelry “heaven”, another is thinking of recently deceased family members and realizing that the reason Heaven is Heaven is because Jesus is there.

Are you praying for more clothes or world peace? What did Jesus tell us to pray for?

Join me at Seek God With Me for more about prioritizing your wish list.