One of my favorite holiday movies is ELF.
I love the part where he confronts Santa and tells him he smells like “meat and cheese” and he sits on a throne of lies. Elf is so naïve and sweet, filled with true holiday spirit. We can smell if something isn’t quite right and especially at this time of year when things are wrapped, bows attached and carols are humming, it gets a little difficult to know what is fake and what is real. Before we can land on anything quite theological, the season has changed and we are wondering if the sleds we purchased last year will see any snow. It’s a whirlwind.
That’s why this movie reaches hearts I believe. We hear Elf cry out, “do I fit in?” He wants to know why he is different than all the other elves and what his destiny should look like. What is the unheard story and why was it never told? He attempts to work, sleep and play like everybody else but realizes he is VERY different. Over and over, he does what all the other elves do and they placate him trying to make him feel o.k. but never encourage him to step out and do what he was meant to do. The whole workshop tries to fit him into their image until it just doesn’t work anymore. He is bigger than his pigeonhole, bigger than others dreams for him, bigger than his adopted dads hopes. He searches to discover Gods design vs. peoples opinions.
Elf also struggles with finding his real dad. Is he wanted, loved, worth the attention he craves? A birth family has great influence on one’s self-esteem.
These basic needs are hilariously displayed while Will Ferrel dances through New York, eats already chewed gum and gets attacked by a furry raccoon. These needs are core to being human. The added syrup on spaghetti and sugary goodness distract us from the truth that we all struggle with these themes at one time or another.
Because of that smelly manger and foreign baby we are now confident that:
- God made us accepted in the beloved.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us (accepted us) in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1.
Because of that first blended, imperfect family, moving forward in spite of the critics, we now celebrate that:
2. God welcomed us into His family and lavishly loves us.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious Agrace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Yes this was written twice because in the same passage, we can read that our core needs can be met in Christ.
Santa baby is a fun song but this Jesus baby – He changes lives! That’s real news for real people. Rejoice – elf no longer has to sit on the shelf! The accepted, chosen ones have purpose, meaning and work to do!
Renae Roche 2017