Monday, December 22, 2008

The Best "Holiday" Gift I Have Ever Gotten

A few weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune asked for readers to contribute essays on the best holiday gift they ever received that money could not buy. I shared with my blogger family that I had chosen to write an essay, which I had some doubt would be published. Unless yesterday's Tribune only contained a few of the chosen essays, mine was rejected. Hey, Jesus Christ Himself has been rejected by many. My essay is nothing compared to Him. While some people contributed excellent answers, there were none having to do with receiving Jesus Christ, or faith in God whatsoever. One person wrote freedom to worship, but, well....I wanted to see God Himself shared in print on the pages of the Chicago Tribune. My only regret is that I didn't post the information on my blog earlier, and request people to send an essay so I could see God glorified on the pages of a Chicago newspaper for Christmas, which is what I wanted more than anything. Perhaps Pip, Kathy, Elizabeth, Sherri, Cheri, Anne, or Beth could have moved their hearts. I didn't. Still, I would like to share with my blogger friends my effort. I know it's kind of like preaching to the choir. You could have written the same thing, but better. Still, I need to post this so that I don't harbor bitterness about wasting my time. It is amazing how I could write a post to share with friends in a few minutes, but to write an essay for strangers took a couple of days. One day to write, and another day to tune up. Here we go....

I would love to share with all of you the best holiday gift I have ever received. I received this gift as a child, and have cherished this gift for more than thirty years. This gift has given meaning to both my joys and my troubles. If this gift were to be lost or tarnished, I would be most desolate. The smallest child can use this gift. Actually, we could all learn from the smallest child how to best utilize this gift. I can share this gift with the whole world, as much of it as I possess, and never have less of it for myself. This gift is the gift of faith.
The holiday I celebrate is Christmas, so my faith is in Jesus Christ. It is His birthday I rejoice in. For me, He is the great gift this holiday season, and every holiday season, and each day in between every holiday. That God has given the gift of His own Son, in itself humbles me. I was not blessed with a child, but you could bet if I had been, I would not have wanted him to sacrifice his own material well being, his own comfort, his own life really, for the good of others. The Father God giving us His only begotten Son demonstrates the love He has for all mankind, the love we ought to try to give each other if we truly love Him. While we could never match His love, doing our best to love others for His sake is all the thanks we can offer for so perfect a gift.
I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I do believe that by emphasizing this belief more than the tangible aspects of Christmas, my parents gave me the greatest gift: belief in God. They took me to Mass, and nurtured my sense of wonder as I looked upon the crèche. They shared their belief in one greater than the highest official in the greatest of lands. No power on earth is greater than His. No love on earth is greater than His. It is His love that gives dignity to all people.
I know that there are other holidays celebrated this year by people who do not celebrate Christmas, or believe in it as I do. Hanukkah celebrates a great miracle done by the Creator to save His chosen people. Ramadan, which took place earlier this year, is a time of fasting and seeking God’s guidance. I must leave it to others to better explain these holidays, and suffice it to say that they too are about faith in God. I think the greatest gift to give others and oneself for the holidays is to remember the etymology of the word holiday. It comes from the words holy day. Sharing the holiness of our holy days is the greatest holiday gift any of us can offer anyone.
I wish all of you at the Chicago Tribune, and those of you who read it, a blessed and holy holiday.
The same goes for anyone reading this post, Pip, Cheri, blogger gal pals, Ryan, Matt, Pete (are you out there Pete?), Stacy, Gabrielle, anyone I missed, lurkers, etc. Have a blessed and Holy Christmas.

***Update: Apparently more essays were printed today. This was not among them. Maybe tomorrow;-) If not, I'm okay with that, as long as I see in print someone mention the gift of Christ-the very reason most of us have a holiday. I want to see Jesus Christ praised in the Chicago Tribune this year! Is that really so much to ask? I have nothing against the gift of peace, freedom, time, love, etc. It's just that Jesus encompasses all that, and more.

****Update My Letter to the Tribune is on their Website."


sherri said...


I see why the Chicago Tribune is going under....they don't know a good story when they see one!

Simply Heather said...

AMEN, Helen. I found your blog through One Minute Writer. I was impressed with what you wrote there about your father and my curiousity led me here. When I read that you're a stay at home daughter, I smiled. I'm sure that you're mother is blessed with your ability to care for her.

My mom's room was finally prepared for her this last August. Cherish these days that you have and never doubt how special each day is. The Lord will fill your heart with peace and joy as you continue to be his hands and feet :o).

Blessings from a Sister in Christ,

{oh and now that I've been here, I have no doubt that He'll place you on my heart now and then...when in need of a prayer ;o)}

Annie K said...

Helen, it was so wonderfully written because it came from your heart. Thank you for sharing that with us and by publishing it on your blog the blessing may extend to far greater reaches than the CT. Perhaps there is someone out there that needs to be blessed by your essay and this is how they are going to receive it. (I don't get the CT so I would've never seen it) ;)

Love you like a sister Helen!

Beth said...

Holiday = holy day. Why didn't I know that before? This was beautifully written and passionate, yet done with respect. That's hard to do! I hope they print it tomorrow!

Mare said...

Helen you did such a beautiful job writing this. As Annie said, I loved it because it came from your heart. I wish the world could read it!

katdish said...

That Christmas story was a great one...certainly worthy of publication in the Chicago Tribune or elsewhere.

Maybe those sweaty Philistines at the Trib just can't HANDLE the truth! Maybe they're scared one of 'em might lose their job! Did you hear me Chicago Tribune? Hmmmmm???? (Unless, of course, they print it later this week. In which case...Nevermind. My bad.)

Ryan B said...

Great post Helen. I hope your letter gets printed. Good luck and have a great Christmas.

wv: extra
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Gabrielle Eden said...

Thanks Helen,

That's one of my favorite Christmas gifts.