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Sharing the passion for writing

 

By CHANEL BINGHAM / Religion columnist

“People with passion can change the world.” Steve Jobs

We all have different passions. Writing happens to be one of mine. As a writer, I want to give others the opportunity to discover an interest and even perhaps build their own passion for creative writing.

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to partner with the Parent Teacher Organization at Chilton County High School to sponsor a writing contest. Students were asked to write an essay on the theme “What Christmas Means to Me.” I can tell you from reviewing the essays, along with a panel of judges, that we have some very talented writers in Chilton County. It was very difficult to select just one winner; however, Shelby Argo rose to the top with her beautifully crafted essay that painted an important yet humble reminder that there is always something to be thankful for, especially during the Christmas season.

Shelby, a senior this year, plans on attending Jefferson State Community College in the fall to earn her basic course credits before transferring to a four-year college to earn a degree in church business administration. She also hopes to follow in her dad’s footsteps by becoming an ordained minister. Her passions are writing, music, and acting, and you can see her living out her passions in the upcoming Blast program.

The PTO would like to thank Principal Ron Pinson and the administration at Chilton County High School for their support of this effort, Mrs. Renee Green of Edward Jones for her sponsorship of the first place prize package, Mrs. Jennifer Blencowe for serving on our panel of judges and The Clanton Advertiser for their support of young writers through publication.

And now, without further ado, please enjoy Shelby Argo’s Christmas essay.

I don’t deserve Christmas. Truly, I don’t. I don’t deserve to have loving parents that are willing to pay for my obsession with books and POP! Vinyl figures every December when they could be saving that money to pay off the car we had to buy after my mom’s got scrapped. I don’t deserve to have two sets of grandparents that call me every October to have me give them this huge list of pointless items so they can start their shopping early. I don’t deserve to have them heckle me when I say that I don’t particularly know what I want this year, because I have everything I could ever need. I don’t deserve to have friends that care about me enough to even think about getting me something because I’m simply a part of their life. I don’t deserve to spend such great times with my wonderful family, nor do I by no means deserve to be loved on by any of them. I will not neglect to mention the fact that I by no means deserved God sending us His son on that night that we are celebrating in the first place. I didn’t deserve for God to love me, and I didn’t deserve God giving me people that love me. Despite all of these things I don’t deserve, I have them. I believe that most everyone that reads this has them. Have we lost sight of that?

As a child, Christmas was all about the presents and the food and letting everything become about myself. My only concern was when I was going to open my next present or look into my next stocking at my next family Christmas party. As I grew older, and I realized just how much was being sacrificed on my behalf, I had this major epiphany (that seems to me should become common sense and a rite of passage for all people; no one, in my eyes, has transitioned into adulthood without this realization) that made me realize very simply: I don’t deserve this. “These people,” I thought to myself, “are giving me everything I want at the expense of their own bank accounts just to make sure that I have a decent holiday. These same people apologize profusely if I don’t get legitimately everything I gave them on my list.” That was the time that I became humbled at this discovery, and I discovered what my true meaning of Christmas was.

Christmas is about cherishing the many things and opportunities you possess and are offered that many people around the globe would not even think about having, because that is not their reality. We have become so accustomed to the commerciality of Christmas time that we have become desensitized to the heartfelt emotion that the season should evoke. We should all keep in mind that just because we have the privilege of receiving, doesn’t mean we receive an appreciative nature along with it. We need to plant that seed of gratitude within us so that we can truly understand what this season means; we must come together in love, and give gifts to those we care for more than anything, to celebrate the time of year that we by no means deserve, but have received as the greatest gift anyone could be offered.

I’ll teach this to my children, and they will teach this to their children, so that my family might remember what Christmas should truly be.

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” 1 John 5:11