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The Major Award

It is the end of your life and you are up on a stage being presented with a major award. What award is it, and what have you won it for?

There’s a classic scene in the movie A Christmas Story when Ralphie’s father receives a major award. The man is beside himself as a crate is dropped wrong-side up and fills the narrow entry of the modest middle-American home. This same man, who won the award for completing a crossword puzzle, pronounces the “Italian” word stamped across the crate slats as “Fra-gee-lay.”

A crowbar is brought to the giddy father who wrenches the top open, climbs into the box, throws straw all over the entry and his family to reveal…a leg…no, a lamp. He proudly places it on a stand in front of the living room window. The entire neighborhood gathers outside to see “electric sex gleaming in the window.”

What happens to the lamp is only one reason to keep watching. But, it is the profound truth of Ralphie’s mother–who incidentally provided the key answer to the crossword puzzle–that resounds in my ears when I read the above writing prompt.

“That is the ugliest lamp I have ever seen in my entire life!”

Another scene from the movie comes to mind. Before the family goes to buy a Christmas tree, Ralphie’s mother turns off the lamp.

“Don’t want to waste electricity,” she chirps.

Yet, every other light in the house is left on.

As funny as these scenes are, the implications in real life must be illuminated.

My love language is words of affirmation, but I find I have to keep myself in check whenever I receive a compliment. Otherwise, I risk taking credit for what God has given me through spiritual gifts and talents. Equally, I exalt a temporary, human accolade instead of focusing on my weaknesses in light of God’s strength. I forget the paradox that my mistakes and limitations can bring glory to God.

It also makes me ask, What lighted lamp am I displaying in my living room window?

Whether intended or not, the enlightening point is there are many other rooms in my life worth illuminating more than one fragile “major award.” If anything, dousing that gaudy display is the best way to avoid wasting the power in the other aspects of my existence.

But, perhaps it’s all about the Source providing the light shining in the living room of my life.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16 NASB

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