Wow! I almost have no other words to say in light of all the tragedy that we’ve seen happening during what is supposed to be a joyful season. We have indeed, seen unthinkable and horrific events unfold before our eyes. I am not attempting to address what has happened, nor relate these events to my story today. I just can’t help but express the heaviness in my heart for the families involved as I begin to write today. My prayers for those who are hurting so deeply are united with yours and the prayers of this nation.
I will repeat, I “almost” have no words to say, but I do have a few. It’s not that what I am going to say is easy or all that joyous, but it’s important to me, so pull up an ice block for a few minutes and lend an ear.
One of my favorite Christmas specials is “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. I grew up watching it every year. I remember many years ago as an 18 year old, working “adult”, (well before the days of the DVR), I had a boss that let me have a long dinner break from work so I could go home and watch the show. Yes, it was that important to me. Even now, many years later, Rudolph has this special place in my home every Christmas.
While the story of Rudolph offers many good life lessons, today I want to focus on the Bumble’s story. In case you aren’t familiar, the Bumble was the Abominable Snow Monster of the North. Everyone knew and feared the Abominable Snow Monster. Rudolph’s father, Donner, taught Rudolph the dangers of this monster as a very young buck. The prospector in the story, Yukon Cornelius, was always cautiously aware of the possibility of encountering the monster in his daily search for silver and gold.
Today I’m thinking of what the Bumble represents, but not in the cute, cartoonish way he is portrayed in the Christmas special. There is no way that I would ever begin to make light of the situations that are on my mind today. The fear that Rudolph was taught or that Cornelius had, can’t possibly even begin to touch the reality of what I’m talking about today. Today, I’m talking about some other monsters, the monsters of addiction and alcoholism. You see, these monsters have robbed some of my family and friends, people I love, of portions of their life.
This morning I walked out of my bedroom to find my husband already up, eating breakfast and browsing the web. He informed me that our youngest son had posted a picture of our family on Facebook. The picture was from about 18 years ago. Oh my, the things your kids do while you’re sleeping! My son had gotten all of the family albums out and apparently found this particular picture to be entertaining and posted it. Entertaining, it was indeed! Once I got past being horrified by the look of my enormous hair, I was brought to tears as I scanned the sweet faces of my four children. They were so adorable! I had a moment, so surreal. How fast they grow up! The picture had been taken before life had robbed them of the fun and innocence of childhood.
In the years since that picture was taken, I’ve gathered many stories to tell about how the abominable monster has reached out to grab those I love and attempt to snatch their very lives. The battles waged against this monster have been bloody and fierce, neither are they over. As many of you know, this is a lifelong battle that is fought everyday by millions of you. Today isn’t the day to go into details on the specifics of my stories. We’ve heard enough negative this season. Today, I think we all need to be encouraged.
You see, the Bumble story has a happy ending. Just as those who daily fight the monster of alcohol or addiction, Yukon Cornelius had more than one encounter with the Abominable Snow Monster. One time he used the tool that he worked with on a daily basis, his pic, to make a “do it yourself iceberg”. He was able to escape certain harm at the hands of the bumble and float away to safety, because Bumbles sink! There finally came a time when Yukon could no longer run and hide from what he feared and he had to face his monster head on.
Remember Herbie, the elf whose dream was to be a dentist? Yukon and Herbie devised a plan to save Clarice and Rudolph from being eaten alive by the Abominable Snow Monster. Herbie made pig noises, because we all know that Bumbles will gladly turn down reindeer meat for a pork dinner. He was able to lure the Bumble out of his cave and he and Yukon courageously faced that which they feared the most. Yukon was spastically swinging his pic as Herbie oinked and they were able to bait the Bumble away from the cave so their friends could be safe. Unfortunately, they backed the Bumble up to a point that appeared to be certain death for Herbie, the Bumble and Cornelius, as they all fell over the edge of a deep crevice. The lives of Rudolph and Clarice were now safe, but at the cost of their friend’s lives.
The scene shifts to Rudolph and Clarice mourning the loss of their friends. Were they ever surprised as the doors of Santa’s castle swung open and in walked Cornelius and Herbie, followed by the Bumble! Cornelius proclaimed that he had reformed the monster! And Herbie the elf had started his new practice as the North Pole Dentist, by pulling the monster’s teeth. The Bumble no longer had the power to eat reindeer or pork! The reformed Bumble then helps to make the tree in Santa’s castle complete, as he places the star on the top.
Why do I like the Bumble story? Because, it’s a story redemption and hope! The Abominable Snow Monster that everyone feared was reformed. No one imagined that he could ever be anyone different than what he was, but it did happen! Yes, it’s just a make believe child’s Christmas story. I know that, but “hope” is very real.
There is another Christmas story which is the basis of my hope. Hope was sent in the form of that little babe lying in a manger. I think that story is much better as it’s read by Charlie Brown in another childhood Christmas special. That baby didn’t stay little and powerless. That baby was sent by love to bring light to a dark world. I believe that love has the power to overcome any monster we face and certainly, the evils of addiction and alcoholism! That perfect love chases away that which makes me fearful. Yes, the God of limitless love is my hope.
That hope is the gift that I use as a tool in my life, this life that I’ve learned to live just one day at a time. That powerful hope is also the weapon that I use to fight the monsters that make me fearful. It’s the one thing that I’ve been able to hang onto in the very dark days of this journey. When all else has been ripped from my hands, hope is still there. No, all of the struggles are still not over, nor all the battles won.
I posted this picture last week. The word “Hope” is written free hand in pencil by someone I love. It was written on a piece of manila folder and was sent to me from a prison cell as a Christmas card several years ago. The person who sent it had no idea how much it meant to me. This person is still struggling to this day. Though it breaks my heart, I still have hope. This one hasn’t made it to the side of victory in this battle yet. I said, not “yet”, but I know many others who have. There is a victory side in the days to come. I just know it. As I posted, last week, hope is my gift. “I’m a mom. I will never give up my hope!” For that reason, I can still have a joyous heart this Christmas season. Merry Christmas!