In the spirit of gratitude

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I really do love the holiday season. I am a family girl. I still get so excited about Thanksgiving
and Christmas but not exactly for the same reasons I did as a kid. I do like a break from work just like I did from school. I just get less days off today. As a kid, I looked forward to hanging with my cousins just as my daughter does today.

Running down the stairs to see what Santa left under the tree and in my stocking was always a delight and I have delighted in the same tradition now as a parent. Today, it’s about spending time with my family and being grateful for the gifts I have been blessed with by God.

As you journey through life, somehow your priorities change especially since my life journey became dominated by my faith journey as I focus more on Christ.

I am grateful for my faith.

God blesses each and everyone of us with gifts. Upon baptism, we are given specific gifts or graces from the Holy Spirit called Charisms. We are called as Christians to use these gifts to evangelize the faith.

That is exactly what artist Maysoun Seman does with her amazing talent. We are so fortunate to feature a piece from her collection on this month’s cover story – so fitting for Christmas – the Holy Family.

Two pieces of Seman’s art were featured at a juried exhibition and we are sharing that story with you.

I am grateful for her talent.

Our charisms may or may not be directly related to our profession. I took a Called and Gifted workshop, which I highly recommend everyone do; I discovered two charisms of mine are writing and communications, both of which are tied to my profession. Some people use their charisms to only evangelize the faith and it’s not tied to their vocation, however, it doesn’t mean that you are not gifted with other talents.

Chaldeans in general are good in business. I always look forward to our annual Entrepreneur Forum. This year proved to be just as informative as previous years. Our panelists were insightful and engaging. Each shared a perspective from the view point of a restaurant owner. The Chaldean News’ Ashourina Slewo wrote a recap of the event and shared some highlights. I am personally grateful to Zaid, Zeana, Serena and John for participating. I took home some valuable information as I am sure everyone who attended did.

I am grateful for the advice.

Sometimes what may seem like a nightmare could turn into the biggest blessing of all. That is exactly what happened to an unwed pregnant teenager. She shares her courageous story of giving birth to her child even though she felt pressured to abort. This is truly a community tragedy. Whether people want to admit or not, we have a serious situation at hand. Girls having sex outside of marriage and having abortions because of the shame. That is just part of the story. There are many others in marriages having abortions for various reasons. I hope to address that side of the story in a future issue. Right now, we are sharing one story of one young lady who finds joy in being a mom.

I am grateful for her courage.

I am also grateful for the courage and openness from our church following a very sad and serious story of a sub-deacon accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. It has been covered in the local news in a very balanced and fair way, I might add. That is largely due to the fact that our church leaders were up front and honest about the story. They did the right thing from a moral and legal perspective. We are merely recapping the story in our noteworthy section.

I am grateful for our servant leaders.

It’s not only the time of the year we are with family and enjoy our downtime with friends too, but it’s the time for the spirit of giving and gratitude. I always allocate a specific time between Christmas and New Years to write down my goals for the next year and to review what I accomplished in the current year. On that list is always everything I am grateful for as I thank God for the blessings. And, it’s not just a Christmas tradition. A few years ago, I added to my list the goal of expressing gratitude. Today, I truly try to live with a spirit of gratitude every day!

Alaha Imid Koullen

(God Be With Us All)

Vanessa Denha-Garmo

Follow her on Twitter @vanessadenha

Follow Chaldean News on Twitter @chaldeannews