Author Darryl Nyznyk, like many folks, is dismayed by “the loss of Christmas to the chaos, anxiety, and pressure of shopping, spending, and gifts.” After all, the true spirit of Christmas has little or nothing to do with the latest and greatest electronic gadgets, toys, and designer fashions. In response, Darryl penned his first novel in order to remind readers that, for him and so many others around the world, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus and inspire them to step away from the planning, shopping, cooking, and decorating frenzy to pause and simply “love God and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mary’s Son, A Tale of Christmas is a magical tale that Darryl told at his daughter’s eighth birthday party many years ago. Today it is the published story of two troubled young people from opposite sides of town who encounter a mysterious man named Nicholas. When Nicholas is unsuccessful in his bid to help Sarah and Jared, he determines to transport them across time to a long-ago Christmas where they experience the true wonders of the season.
Remembering Jesus at Christmas
Last year, I was asked to speak about my new Christmas novel, Mary’s Son, A Tale of Christmas, to a group of seventh and eighth grade public school students who were attending Religious Education classes at our local Catholic Church. I’ve spent a lifetime raising four daughters with my wife, coaching youth sports, and otherwise guiding and communicating with young people, so I looked forward to the discussion. I asked two questions at the beginning, and received answers, which I should have expected.
“How many of you spend even one minute thinking about the birth of Jesus Christ during the Christmas season?”
Not one student raised a hand.
“How many of your friends at school ever, not just at Christmas time, but ever mention Jesus Christ?”
No one raised a hand.
While I should have anticipated those responses from attendees of public schools where the mention of Christ, even as a historical figure, is a violation of the Constitution’s separation of Church and State principle, I was surprised at the blank faces. Compound that with the response from a group of Catholic School sixth graders one week later when I asked how many of their families read the Nativity story during the Christmas season. Only one child sheepishly raised her hand and whispered, “My parents make us do it.” I, of course, congratulated the young girl on her family’s wonderful tradition, and I exhorted the previous week’s seventh and eighth graders to stand up like warriors and speak about Christ even if others make fun of them, because guess what? Those of us who do so win! I actually received enthusiastic smiles and nods at the prospect of being different and on the right side. One student who appeared to be a male leader in the class even e-mailed the teacher the next day and told her he was going to speak up for Christ.
Every day we read articles about the battle being waged in our world against Christmas. At first the “happy holidays” crowd was responding to the real sensitivities of the minority who didn’t feel included in the joy of the Christmas season. But it has gotten out of hand. Why? Because now it isn’t about just being sensitive to the feelings of others. There exists an actual movement by the “new secularists” (a modern term for atheists) to remove God from all discussion and thought in our society. They know that if they are able to take Jesus Christ out of Christmas, they will not only have won a crucial battle against God in our society, they will have won the war.
The “enlightened” in our society might argue my concerns are overblown. They might say discussions and thoughts about God divide a society. After all, isn’t religion supposed to be one of the things that you never talk about because it’s a personal thing, and no one should force his beliefs on another? Imagine, as John Lennon sang, how wonderful the world would be if there was no God.
I have imagined it, and I fear the picture it conjures. Dennis Prager, the noted radio host states that the problem with secularism is that it has no morals. If not rooted in God, moral standards do not objectively exist. “They are simply a matter of personal preference.” Ridding Christmas of Jesus Christ is the victory the secularists seek. We cannot let that happen. We must remind ourselves and we must teach and remind our children every year that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. That’s why I wrote Mary’s Son, A Tale of Christmas, the only mainstream Christmas story about modern-day youths experiencing modern-day problems ultimately solved by understanding the real reason for Christmas and the love and hope Christ’s birth brings to the entire world.
Darryl holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from U.C. Santa Barbara. He studied there during the waning days of the Vietnam War when many of the students were protesting. He describes the campus at that time as “a hot-bed of anti-establishment activity, political activism, streaking, partying, drugs, day-long Grateful Dead concerts, and baby boomer coming-of-age stories.” He credits those turbulent times as cementing his “sense of individualism intertwined with societal obligations that have helped shape my core.”
He went on to earn a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He practiced business and real estate law for the next twenty years before spending nine years as general counsel and, later, President of a Southern California real estate development company.
But he considers his happy marriage and participation in the lives of his four daughters to be his greatest accomplishments. Darryl met Loretta after a homecoming high school football game during his third year of college and together they have experienced all the joys and anguish of American family life. They “coached every conceivable sport, shuffled kids to music, sports, school and friends’ houses, helped with homework, consoled when friends were ‘so mean’ and boyfriends ‘didn’t care'” as they guided their daughters to adulthood.
Anton Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” About his life philosophy, Darryl says: “To live a life not only seeing that glint of light but feeling the excitement of the evening it portends, is that to which I have aspired. I choose not simply to exist in a mundane world of fear and responsibility, but to cherish each moment and find its unique significance — in short, to live a life of passion.”
Thank you, Darryl!
Thanks also to Elaine Krackau and PR By the Book
Be sure to visit Colloquium this Friday, December 23, 2011, to read my review of Mary’s Son, A Tale of Christmas and enter to win your own copy, graciously provided by the author!