Q: Quite some time ago, around Christmas/Hanukah time, you answered a question from a grandpa. I kept it for my own grandchildren because it had such wonderful, wise and loving advice, but it is all worn out. Could it be reprinted again? – N on Long Island
A: I do not normally reprint my columns, but you touched a soft spot in my heart. This is my favorite column, and I am happy to send it along to you and others who have asked for it. Save it for the winter. God bless you.
A: Dear Zac, my name is Marc Gellman. I am a rabbi and I give advice to people about God in the newspaper. Your grandfather sent me your Christmas list and asked my help in getting you the last thing. I hope you get all the other stuff on your list especially the remote-controlled helicopter. He was asking my help in getting you a note from God. I don’t know how to do this for you, but what I did do is write you a note by myself that is the kind of note I wish God would send you.
From God to Zac:
The main thing I want to tell you – the most important thing I want you to know is that I love you and I will always be with you and you should never be afraid because you are never alone. OK, that is not exactly one thing but it is sort of one thing.
I made you special and I gave you blessings, which means that I made you really good at some things. As you grow up I want you to figure out what you are good at and I want you to help others who have not figured out their blessings and who might be lonely, poor and afraid. I care about what you do for yourself, but I care more about what you do for others. Be a kind person, Zac.
I also hope you will be honest. The only thing you have that really matters is your good name. Cheaters and liars have given up the only thing I gave them that they can’t buy and can’t replace. Do the right thing and everything will work out for you; I promise. Be an honest person, Zac.
I hope you can learn to say ‘Thank you’ as easily as you say, ‘Could I have that?’ ‘Thank you’ is a sign that you are grateful for what you have. Why don’t you start with saying ‘thank you’ to your parents and your grandpa even before you open your presents and fly your new remote-controlled helicopter into the pie your mom baked for dessert after Christmas dinner. Oh, and if you have time, you might thank me for sending Jesus on this his birthday, which is the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the best and only Christmas present a little Christian boy like you needs on his list and saying thank you is the only price I set for that great gift. Be a good Christian, Zac.
Someday when you are much older like your grandpa is now – not old but just older – you are going to have your own grandchild just like your grandpa has you. You are going to love that child just the way your grandpa loves you now. On that Christmas you will know why your grandpa wrote to a rabbi about your Christmas list. On that Christmas, many, many, years from now your grandpa will be in Heaven and Rabbi Gellman will be in Heaven. So do me a favor, Zac. On that Christmas Day I want you to find Rabbi Gellman’s grandson Zeke, who is about your age now. Tell Zeke the story of how your grandpa asked Zeke’s grandpa for help in getting you a note from God. Then wish Zeke a Happy Hanukah and he will wish you a Merry Christmas. That is all I want from you now. That is all I want.
Bless you, Zac.
Bless you, Zeke.