You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall the least famous reindeer of all?
His name is Rodney. You might not recognize him. To me though, it’s not Christmas without Rodney The Reindeer.
Rodney has been my favorite Christmas ornament for I don’t even know how long. He’s always the first one I place on our family tree. It doesn’t matter if it’s the day after Thanksgiving or just a few days before the 25th – it ain’t Christmas for me until Rodney takes his spot on the tree.
Rodney is just a Hallmark creation for Christmas – literally. He wasn’t designed to spread the message of Christmas. He was designed to sell trinkets and toys.
I get that. He’s just an inanimate rubber reindeer ornament.
To me though, Rodney represents all the wonders of the season.
Because he’s always the first ornament I place on the tree, Rodney carries with him all of the special memories and emotions of Christmas.
He is the presence of God popping up in the randomest of places.
For most of us the Christmas Tree represents a piecemeal hodgepodge of abstract art. Every ornament has a unique story attached to it.
Even the mass produced ones, the plain gold balls and red spikes, the generic Walmart ornaments which take up the empty spots – these are all full of memories. The moments they were purchased, the year they broke and got glued back together, the year Grandma passed them down to you.
If we listen closely we can hear God communicating through our Christmas ornaments.
Each one tells us a different part of our own personal Christmas story. Pieced together they communicate a personalized picture of God’s faithfulness to our families through the ages.
Every ornament speaks to a different moment of time. Though our lives are ever-changing, the hope God brings at Christmas stays the same year after year.
And in a way I think the ornaments adorning our trees are a reflection of the way we decorate the tree of life.
Each one of us is like an ornament. We are handcrafted by God at just the right time, hung in just the right space with care. We are each created with a different purpose and different stories to tell.
It doesn’t really matter if we’re the most famous reindeer or the least, if we’re the fanciest ornament or just a craft made from popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners. We each play a pivotal role in God’s story.
Rodney The Reindeer might not be the most famous reindeer of all. He might not be the prettiest Christmas ornament. But to me he’s a reminder of everything special about Christmas.
Rodney reminds me every year that no matter what our story is we all have our spot on the tree.
Do you have a favorite Christmas ornament? What makes it so special for you?