Did you know about the store called Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan? I had never heard of it until a month or so ago, when I came upon it accidentally via the internet. It bills itself as the “World’s Largest Christmas Store.” It was founded in the 1950s by Wally and Irene Bronner who, incidentally, were LCMS Lutherans.
Here’s a bit of biographical information on Wally Bronner, from the website:
“Over the years, Wally served actively in his church and community. He served on a number of committees and boards at St. Lorenz Lutheran Church. Wally enjoyed speaking at various conventions, conferences and seminars. He was active on a number of civic councils and committees. City beautification and patriotism were of special interest to Wally. An avid Lions Club member, he even had a leader dog named after him. Wally’s favorite charities included the Salvation Army and Saginaw Rescue Mission. Wally passionately promoted the story of “Silent Night,” the world’s favorite Christmas carol, and the centrality of the Nativity to the Christmas celebration.
“On Easter Sunday, March 24, 2008, Wally announced to his staff by letter that “our loving Lord and Savior, the CHRIST of CHRISTmas, is ready to receive me into HIS heavenly kingdom where all believers in the creator God will be with Him forever and ever.” Wally’s savior, Jesus Christ, welcomed him home to heaven on April 1, 2008. Wally left behind his wife Irene, son Wayne and his wife Lorene, daughter Carla and her husband Bob Spletzer, son Randy, daughter Maria and her husband Christopher Sutorik, and five grandsons: Dietrich and Garrett Bronner; and Ryan, Paul and Greg Spletzer.
“Wally loved to share his Christian faith summarized in these 25 words: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.”
Among other awards for excellence in business, Wally received the Christus Vivit Award from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in 2002. The award recognizes an exemplary life of Christian service. More fun facts about Bronner’s can be found here.
I first came across this business by searching for Christmas ornaments that might be particularly interesting to Lutherans. What ornaments did I find, you ask?
This, for example, is a formed glass ornament of St. Lorenz Lutheran Church:
And here’s a ball ornament with the Aaronic blessing on it, which we hear regularly in church…
Ever thinking about getting a personalized Baptism ornament? They do that at Bronner’s!
And here’s a simple Bible ornament that can also be personalized:
DO NOT underestimate how difficult it is to find a nice stained glass window ornament. I’ve searched all over the place, and this is Nativity window is one of the best I’ve ever found:
…And if you’re Lutheran, you probably know “I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb”…
Another stained glass window ornament.
And, finally, a link to your requisite Luther’s seal ornament.
There was more fun stuff I found at Bronner’s, but I think I’ll save the non-ornament stuff for a separate post. Anyway, seems like a nice place to do business with.