Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Good Samaritan Reindeer

Rudolph...For the record, let me say The Santa Clause is my favorite Christmas film, hands down. What makes it so special for me is the way Scott Calvin is changed on the inside by circumstances he clearly can't control, as well as the impact of those changes on those around him. It's a theme repeated in The Santa Clause 2, another favorite, one that I'll revisit later this weekend. Right now, what I'd like to do is ask, whatever happened to poor Rudolph? Have you ever noticed, he's not included in Santa's reindeer? Did the filmmakers mess up? What's going on here?!

Well, I think the explanation may have crept into my head sometime between cup of coffee #1 and #2 this morning. The first description of Rudolph appeared in a booklet written in 1939 by Robert L. May on assignment by the department store giant, Montgomery Ward. Eventually, his story became a song and the rest, as they say, is history. Rudolph has been a fixture in Santa Claus mythology ever since. But not in The Santa Clause.

The reason we don't see Rudolph in the film is simple. There are no foggy Christmas Eves. Rudolph's claim to fame results from a single night when Santa needed him. His is the tale of the "fool" who is rejected by all until the time comes when only he can save the day. He was never intended to be the ninth reindeer forever and he only shows up when the flying conditions are poor enough that Santa needs fog lamps. Not on snowy Christmas Eves or bright, shining moon-lit ones like last night's in Maine. But on foggy ones when not even the sharpest-eyed can find their way through the soup between the North Pole and points south.

Now, I think this is an important piece of information to have at hand, especially when our children notice, as they most certainly will, that Rudolph is missing. It's not an inaccuracy or a mistake or, as unbelievers would suggest, evidence that it's all humbug anyway. It's simply an accurate reflection of the fact that Rudolph has a unique role and only fills it when necessary.

I guess you could call him the Good Samaritan Reindeer. Kind of like the three people who came to the rescue of a woman trapped in a rollover crash last night near my home. They didn't have to stop and Rudolph could have told Santa he was busy, but they did and he didn't, the woman is recovering nicely and Santa made his rounds on time. I like that. Rudolph is a reindeer with a conscience.

So, remember, now, when you look up into the Christmas Eve sky, searching faithfully, as I do every year, for a sign, a streak of light, or anything at all that fulfills the desire of your heart to see him at long last, don't be disappointed if there's not a red spot in the lead. Not unless it's foggy that is, and then Rudoph's nose is all you'll see. And that will be good enough for me.

P.S. To all who have made this blog a part of your lives the past year(s), please accept my sincerest thanks and best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful and blessed Christmas and Holiday Season!

Beggar, the dog, and the cat

(Creative Commons image by Zoomloes via Flickr)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...