First, a bit of trivia that Elf fans may not know. Remember Buddy’s thirteen-second-long belch after guzzling a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola? The burp was real, but dubbed in by Canadian voice actor Maurice LaMarche (who voiced Brain from Pinky and the Brain, among many other cartoon characters). We should feel so proud.
This 2003 movie stars Will Farrell (who stands six-foot-three) as Buddy, a human raised by Santa’s elves. It always makes me laugh, but be sure you’re in the mood for extreme silliness when you decide to watch it.
Buddy has never been told he’s not an elf, and he grows up feeling inferior. He’s far too large for the elves’ homes and furnishings. He can’t make toys as quickly as they can. Though he feels loved by Papa Elf who adopted him, and accepted by the other elves who are too kind to hurt his feelings, Buddy knows he doesn’t fit in.
When Buddy learns he’s a human whose mother died and that he has a biological father unaware of his existence, he treks from the North Pole to New York City. His mission? To find his father and redeem him from Santa’s naughty list. The people he encounters, including his father, assume he’s completely dysfunctional and in need of serious help. All kinds of crazy scenes play out as Buddy gradually wins over his half-brother, his stepmother, a department store elf he’s quickly falling in love with, and—finally, his father. The group must then save Santa’s sleigh from certain destruction by raising NYC’s level of Christmas cheer. Buddy ends up a hero.
The touching part of this story is the part to which our souls relate: the hunger for belonging. We yearn to understand our roots, find our people, know where we fit. We long for father, and when that longing is met with rejection, it becomes the harshest rejection of all.
Regardless of race, class, nationality, or gender, our relationship with our father is deeply tied to our identity. That need is so strong in us, it can drive people into bad relationships, gangs, and cults. Even those fortunate enough to enjoy a good relationship with their parents understand the need for more. We were designed to be loved perfectly, but no parent or partner can measure up.
Deep inside, we long to know who we truly are. Whose we are. Though we may not admit it, our souls desire a relationship with our Creator. The good news is, our Creator desires one with us even more. Christmas made it possible. We don’t need to make a long trek to him. He sent his son to us. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made, look at what the Bible tells us about who we are in him:
I am a child of God. (John 1:12)
I am a friend of Jesus. (John 15:15)
I will not be condemned by God. (Romans 8:1)
I am accepted by Christ. (Romans 15:7)
I have wisdom, righteousness, and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
I am a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am set free. (Galatians 5:1)
I am blessed. (Ephesians 1:3)
I am chosen. (Ephesians 1:4)
I am forgiven. (Ephesians 1:7)
I am loved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
I am provided for. (Philippians 4:19)
That’s only a partial list, but it includes twelve verses for you to look up—one for each of the twelve days of Christmas. Google them if it’s easier. I hope you’ll take some time this Christmas season to remember—or perhaps to discover for the first time—the identity and belonging your Creator offers you because of Jesus.