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On January 16, 2013 André Cassagnes died in Paris at the age of eighty-six. The French-born inventor was in his early thirties when he created a plastic device with a glass screen on which children could draw by turning little knobs. Since the inside surface of the screen was coated with aluminum powder, moving the knobs resulted in drawing images on the screen as an unseen movable stylus scraped away the powder. By turning the device upside down and shaking it, the little black images would magically disappear. Cassagnes called his little invention "L'Ecran Magique," or "the magic screen."

The Ohio Art Company renamed Cassagnes's toy Etch A Sketch and began distributing it in the United States beginning in 1960. Since that time more than 100 million of the little laptop drawing machines have been sold allowing it to be named one of the top 100 toys of the 20th century. The Etch A Sketch has made its mark among other classics as the Duncan yo-yo, the Barbie doll, Silly Putty, and Mr. Potato Head.

​Illustration of Grace

​It's unlikely that André Cassagnes had any idea the toy he created in his basement half a century ago would become so popular. It's also unlikely that he imagined his hand-held creation would provide Christians with such a powerful illustration of grace.

Like an Etch A Sketch, sin makes it mark on the screen of our lives. The evidence of our disobedience is indisputable. It's not a pretty picture. But when we trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the blotches of sin on the screen of our lives are erased and we are made like new.*

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

What an amazing gift that we have been given through Jesus Christ, and through His sacrifice for us. May this thought bring joy to your heart today.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelinesScripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

* Greg Asimakoupoulos, Mercer Island, Washington: sources: Prospero (The Economist) blog, "Andre Cassagnes and the Etch A Sketch" (2-8-13); Valerie Waltz, "Etch A Sketch Creator Dies at 86," FOX43 Central Pennsylvania (2-3-13)

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