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Vanity, all is Vanity (Fair)


By Mark Azzara

Dear Friend,

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

About Mark Azzara

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 a non-denominational prayer community 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.

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