Charlie: “I’m the official sentry of the Island of Misfit Toys.”
Hermey: “A Jack-in-theBox for a sentry?”
Charlie: “Yes. My name is…”
Rudolph: “Don’t tell me. Jack?”
Charlie: “No. Charlie. That’s why I’m a misfit toy. My name is all wrong. No child wants to play with a Charlie-in-the-Box.”
Those classic stop-motion Christmas shows that aired in the 70’s were always so much fun for me. Rudolph was the best except for maybe the Heat Miser from The Year Without a Santa Clause. There was something strangely hypnotizing about the jerky movements of those little felt-covered figures. My brothers and I would sit a few feet from the TV with our mouths open, Dad occasionally breaking the trance with a shout to “Back up!” so we wouldn’t ruin our eyesight.
The Island of Misfit Toys was a strange place, but somehow I got it. The toys that lived there had been banished to the island because they didn’t measure up to what toys “ought” to be. There was a train with square wheels, a polka-dotted elephant, a bird that swims instead of flies, a sad little doll, the Charlie-in-the-Box mentioned above and a host of other oddball toys. There was also a sort of Lion King that wanted Santa to pick up these toys and deliver them to loving homes. It’s a great story because everyone knows what it’s like to feel unwanted because of something in their nature they wish they could change but just can’t. Disney picked up on the Lion King theme AND the Toy Story theme and made bazillions of dollars, but I digress…
For Christians, there is an obvious parallel here with the Body of Christ. Others have picked up on this connection and written about it, and I thought I’d offer the links I see. In what sense are we “misfits” anyway? Think about the word, mis-fit. What doesn’t fit? Fit into where? I think we are often misfit for the worldly life. There is a dress code for this world, and many don’t feel comfortable in that uniform. Consider I Corinthians verse 27, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Besides, we are really designed for another world altogether, and the good news is that God has the perfect spot for us there. More good news is that He has the perfect spot for us here, while we wait.
The Island of Misfit Toys allows us to imagine that maybe our flaws are actually just uniqueness misunderstood. Of course, I’m not speaking of sinful traits here. Sin is a poor fit for any world, but the weird things about us that others may mock, or that even we sometimes despise, may be just the traits that God wants to use in His kingdom. As if He looks at us as we are and thinks, “I have the perfect place for that one!” A beautiful truth about the Body of Christ is that it is made up of unique individuals, all coming together to make a pleasing whole. Here’s another section of I Corinthians with a few lines emphasized-
18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
And later in verse 24b and following:
… But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:18/24b-27
This is no ordinary Toy Collector we serve. He seeks out the rare as well as the common, the strange and the normal, along with what society calls misfits, and He’s building us all into the most beautiful Body the universe has ever seen. And He doesn’t size us up and then “make a space” for our difficult angles. No, our perfect outfits have been there in God’s wardrobe all along. No tailoring necessary.
Turns out Charlie was wrong. There is Someone that wants a Charlie-in-the-Box after all. Merry Christmas, Charlie.
Ed Nicholson 12/11/2013