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By Reni M. Valenzuela: Champions are made of gold. They don’t shrink under the heat of tests and trials. Abraham Lincoln dared the highest of mountains and the deepest of seas. He didn’t dodge challenges and so he went through a series of devastating losses both in politics and personal life before he finally won the presidency of the United States of America and later became the national hero for an emerging powerful nation then.

Lincoln made his people rise to achieve emancipation for the oppressed among his countrymen prior to his fall by an assassin’s bullet at the hands of the enemies of righteousness.

Jose Rizal was a true fighter who fought a truer war. He lost his life by execution, but he restored life to his people by inspiration.

Rizal didn’t fire a gun in battling the Spanish colonizers in the 19th century, yet he engulfed the heart of an entire race and won the war to liberate the entire Filipino nation. Rizal did it by the courageous musing of a brave heart in him and by the stroke of a brave pen pulsated by crimson ink that gushed forth from his bleeding conscience. Rizal’s pen stood its ground about the ills of society, the excesses of the religious lords and the tyranny of a foreign “government” to scribble potent truths to the core in treasured novel writings that jolted the invaders and awakened slumbering souls.

Gold is pure which luster is brightest inside a furnace. And so do winners in life against the toughest of challenges.

Jesus Christ was born a poor carpenter’s son. He was a “nobody” who didn’t mingle among the elites. He had no record of achievements. He only had no record of wrongs.

The King of kings didn’t sit on an earthly throne. He is without an empire and was not a part of a dynasty. Jesus is far from being prestigious and held no position in business, politics or in any of the international institutions. He never commanded an army and possessed neither name nor voice in the ruling class. But He won the whole world by “losing,” being the King of the Jews yet the most despised and condemned good man that ever walked on earth. Christ remained spotless and unblemished as He came out victorious through the “losses” that He suffered and the crosses that He bore during His lifetime in human flesh.

It’s Christmas once again. Jesus wanders from heart to heart knocking at doors of lives preoccupied with materialistic celebrations. Let “the Loser” be born in a poor, manger-like heart of every person today to receive the mantle of joyous living and the crown of true winning both here and the hereafter.

Christ’s “defeat” made grace complete. He “lost” it all, yet He won the battle to save the world. The resurrected Messiah vanquished death as he redeemed man from sin and paved the way back to Light from the clutches of defeat in the everlasting darkness, and from that moment of great and “tragic loss” on Calvary’s cross.
What priceless virtue of “losing”!

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?..” – Matthew 16:24, 25


MBEs for McCracken, Adams, Campbell and Joshua

GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken, and three Olympic gold medallists, Nicola Adams, Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua have all been awarded MBEs in the New Year Honours list.

The awards reflect the success of the boxing team at the London 2012 Olympics where it delivered Great Britain’s best performance for over 100 years and finished top of the boxing medal table with three golds, one silver and a bronze.

Derek Mapp, Chairman of the British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) said: “Since he joined the BABA in 2009, Rob and his team have transformed the GB Boxing set-up and created an environment that enables the boxers to be successful and win medals at major tournaments. This accolade is a thoroughly well deserved reward for all of Rob’s work in creating this environment and for the superb performances of the boxers at London 2012 in winning gold medals and delivering so much enjoyment for the nation.”

Rob McCracken said: “It is very satisfying to have your work recognized in this way and I would like to thank all of the boxers, coaches and support team at the BABA whose hard work and dedication contributed to the success of the team in London. It is great for the sport that the performance of the team at 2012 has been recognized in this way and I am delighted that all of our gold medalists have been honoured.”

Super-heavyweight gold medallist, Anthony Joshua added: “”To be recognised for what I have achieved in boxing is an amazing honour. I am extremely proud and humbled that my hard work and dedication to my sport has been acknowledged in such a special year.”

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