Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Messiah

Everyone knows how Rudolph, mocked by all his reindeer buddies, got picked by Santa to lead his Christmas sleigh. But did you know the story has a hidden meaning?
Rudolph appears to be a parable for the life of Jesus, as told in the Gospels. Like Rudolph, Jesus was rejected by his peers, the other Jewish rabbis. Yet when the time came for God to reveal his chosen one, Jesus was the one he picked, just as Santa chose Rudolph to lead his sleigh.
The Bible uses a similar metaphor: The stone the builders mocked has become the cornerstone (Psalms 118:22).[1] This pithy saying gave hope to a battered Jewish nation, centuries before it was applied to Jesus. Perhaps Robert May, who invented Rudolph, understood the parable of the cornerstone, and decided to recast it in terms that would capture a child’s imagination.

[1] The verse is found in Mark (12:1-12), Matthew (21:33-46), Luke (20:9-16), Acts (4:11), I Peter (2:7), Barnabus (6:4), and other early Christian sources. Its meaning in these contexts is a bit ambiguous, but in Acts at least it is clear that the stone is a metaphor for Jesus himself.

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