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The Amplemann

My Hero the Ampelmann
By Connor McDaniel

Recently when I was traveling in Europe, I had the chance to go to the city of Berlin, Germany. The city itself has a very interesting history, but my favorite part was learning about the Ampelmann. Ampelmann is the little guy who decorates the pedestrian lights across the city of Berlin.As you can see from the picture, it shows in a funny little pose and wearing a hat and he was one of the first things I noticed when we got to the city. 
But, even more interesting to me was his story. After WWII ended, West Germany was given to the US, England, and France, while the East was given to Soviet Russia. Berlin was split down the middle. Over the years, East Berliners didn’t have much, but they were able to create a more comical version of the pedestrian light- the Ampelmann. When the city was reunited though, the Western government took over, and the lights began to change to the normal stick man. As people began to notice this, both East and West Berlinians petitioned for Ampelmann to stay and decorate the pedestrian lights in the city, and even today he is the standard fix and a cultural symbol of Berlin!

The lesson from Ampelmann is this- the good things survive. The things that make us smile, bring joy, and shine out in times of darkness are the things that we like to have around. Think of Matthew 5:16- “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” 

Look for ways to shine that light. It doesn’t have to be something huge, either. It can be as easy as making someone smile or laugh, or telling them you hope they have a nice day. Take inspiration from Ampelmann’s triumph and go shine your light to guide others toward Jesus Who has triumphed over all!