Monday, December 17, 2018

Outdoor Object Lesson 87: Reindeer Gospel

Key Text

"For so has the Lord commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you as a light for the Gentiles, that you should bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.’” Acts 13:47 (WEB)


Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer. We all know the story. A young reindeer who is shunned and teased because he looks different with his bright red nose. But his seeming handicap turns out to be just what Santa needs and so Rudolf finds his purpose in the world. Reindeer are unique and almost magical creatures to most of the world because of Christmas myths and where they live. Reindeer make their home so far north few people will ever see them more than once or perhaps not at all.

Reindeer are also called caribou in North America and are rather interesting creatures. Both male and female grow impressive antlers. They are able to survive in subzero temperatures and blinding blizzard weather. Some species have knees that make a clicking noise that helps the herds stay together when it’s hard to see. They also have hooves that expand in the summertime when the ground is soft and shrink in winter when it’s hard. Reindeer are known to migrate as much as 3000 miles (4800 km) per year in search of food which is a record among land animals. Reindeer have specially designed noses that warm the frigid air before it enters their lungs.1

Their nose is able to do this thanks to an enormous blood supply that circulated through their nose. This blood flow actually turns the tip of their nose red at times. Robert May, the creator of the Rudolf story, might have been inspired after seeing a reindeer with a red nose in real life. The distinctive red hue is not bright enough to guide a sleigh, but it is a marvelous tool for regulating body temperature. Scientists have discovered that in addition to warming air, a reindeer's nose acts to release body heat in their head. This helps to keep their brain at a proper temperature. Reindeer are truly amazing creatures.

We like Rudolf all have a blemish. There is definitely something wrong about us. We have all felt the sting of other people making fun of us and this can bring our faults to the surface. I am not talking about external blemishes or even problems inside the body, I am talking about defects in our hearts and our personalities. We have a selfishness problem. While it is no fun to be made fun of or shunned like Rudolf, we have also acted like the other reindeer at times and made fun of or shunned others. There is good news. When we give ourselves to Jesus, he will show us how to live for others. The gospel of Rudolf's story is that there is one Person who can take our defects and make them into something that gives light to the world.


How do you feel when others make fun of you?
Do you think Santa let the other reindeer make fun of Rudolf?
What does the Bible teach about having the qualifications to be used by God?
What is one way to can use your defects to spread the Gospel of Jesus?


1. Joseph Stromberg, "The Scientific Reason Why Reindeer Have Red Noses," Smithsonian online, last modified December 18, 2012,

Written by David F. Garner
Photo credit: Natalia_Kollegova via