By Mark Azzara
I am getting anxious, wondering if my email Christmas gift will arrive as expected.
Last year about this time I received an email offer from Conde Nast Publications sent via The New Yorker: “Stay Relevant With Vanity Fair for Just $1 a Month.”
Uh … Stay relevant? Wow, who knew? To be honest, I didn’t know my relevance was about to expire. You tell me. Has it? Maybe I should send them a thank-you note for the heads-up.
Even more shocking, I had to ask myself: Is that all it costs to be relevant?
But perhaps most shocking, I didn’t know that Vanity Fair had become the sole arbiter of who and what is relevant. I thought that was God’s job. But if it is Vanity Fair’s job, I guess I should expect another offer this year that I cannot refuse (even though I did last year).
It was too late then to comment via this letter and, frankly, I was too dumbfounded to truly know what to say. But if the egomaniacs at Conde Nast contact you with a similar offer, let me reassure you – at no cost whatsoever – that you are relevant, regardless of your education, race, gender, age, health, income or any other factor. And that you will remain so because God declares it.
I write this letter every week precisely because you are relevant – to me, to many others, and most especially to God. That reminder is the best gift I can possibly offer you because it is the message and the gift of Christmas.
All God’s blessings – Mark
Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, “And So Are You.” He is active in his church and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal State Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.