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Once again this year, TBS is running back to back showings of “A Christmas Story” all the way from 8pm on Christmas Eve until 8pm on Christmas Night.

I love that movie.

I think my favorite part is when the father gets his “major award” in the great big box.  He reads the word “fragile”, stamped across the front, as if it were something exotic, written in Italian.

“Frageelay”, he exclaims in awe, forever changing the way I pronounce that word.

Indeed, as gifts go it was pretty exotic and pretty fragile. It was, of course, the infamous leg lamp.

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It looked glorious, shining there in the living room.

When I think of fragile things, I’m reminded of another Christmas story.  The first one.

The first Christmas gift was fragile, too.

Two fragile little legs (not just one).

Two arms, two hands.  Eyes and nose.  Hands and feet.

Tiny, vulnerable.  Frageelay.

Strange, isn’t it?  God sends a savior who is so tiny and weak.  Barely able to lift his head up.

The Son of God, come to save us, yet so easily broken.

Why? Why send such a fragile gift?

Well, there is a certain kind of excitement and gentleness that comes with fragile things.

A reminder to handle with care.

In the movie “A Christmas Story”, the lamp was eventually broken, shining no more.

As for the real Christmas story?

It turns out that Jesus was, indeed, fragile.

He was broken for us

But MERRY CHRISTMAS friends,

because the light of Christ shines FOREVER!

Merry Christmas,

Mitch

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Preparing Him Room

We set up the tree! But it wasn’t easy…

We have a decent sized living room.  It’s big enough for a couch and two chairs, and a fireplace, and a picture window…

But not big enough to add a Christmas Tree.

Last year, we solved the problem by taking one of the chairs out of the room, and putting the tree up in the corner.

That worked fine, but it eliminated seating.  So this year we were determined to find room for everything. 

First, we moved the couch from the east wall to the north wall.  We moved a chair over where the couch had been and that left a little space in the southeast corner. But not enough for the tree.

Then, we moved the couch back and swapped the two chairs.  Nope.

We put the two chairs together along one wall.  Nope.

We shoved one chair way into a corner and set the tree up in the entryway.  Terrible!

We tried everything we could think of, and nothing seemed to work.

In the end, you know what we did?

We put everything back the way we had started and set the tree in front of the window.

It looks perfect.

The moral of this story?

“Preparing him room” doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rearrange your whole life.

(or your whole living room…)

You just have to shine the light where others can see it.

Have a great week,

Mitch.

(top image via http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15)

Your About-Face

Meet Csanad Szegedi.

I know, looks hard to pronounce. Actually, it’s a Hungarian name.

I can’t say he’s one of my favorite guys.

He has been one of the leading figures of the far-right Jobbik Party, and he is well known for his outspoken anti-semitism.

He’s publicly blamed the Jews for ruining his country. It’s been part of his platform. He has been overtly anti-Jewish for years.

That is, until he discovered that he is one.

I guess in Hungary it is not uncommon for people to keep their Jewish heritage private.  Well, a year or so ago, someone finally told Szegedi the truth: He’s Jewish on his mom’s side.

Yep, his grandmother lived through Auschwitz. His grandfather died in forced labor camps.

Oops!

Apparently, Szegedi is still reeling from this revelation.

At first he resisted. He tried to bribe someone to keep the info from getting out, but it did. Now he’s been dumped by his own party, and is being asked by them to relinquish is role as an EU representative.

His whole life has turned upside down.

This week, amazingly, he went to visit a rabbi. He apologized for any offensive comments he might have made.

He vowed to journey to Auschwitz and experience his family’s history.

Can you imagine? A man who actually founded an organization that hearkened back to pro-nazi groups, now facing the rest of his life as “one of those” people he had previously detested.  (You can read the whole AP story here)

What an amazing about-face. Reminds me of Paul.

Paul (Saul) starts out as a vicious hunter of Christians, until an intervention on the road to Damascus causes him to do an about-face. The rest of his life was spent promoting the very religion he once persecuted.

When we say somebody’s “seen the light”, we’re referring to Paul’s incredible transformation.

Will Csanad Szegedi see the light? Will he ever become a Jewish activist? Stranger things have happened.

They may even happen to you.

Could you have an about-face in your future?

Maybe you’ve been loving alcohol or drugs or pornography instead of God.  Maybe you’ve been hating your body instead of loving it. Maybe you grew up hating a certain group of people.  Maybe you’re running from God’s call in your life.

Maybe it’s time to turn around.

Sometimes it happens slowly, and sometimes all at once.

For Szegedi’s sake, and yours, and mine,

Let’s just pray God’s light shines…

On our about-faces.