Dec. 15: Inspired Service

Laura Collier was only eight when she traveled with her mother to China. She remembers noticing the stark difference between the United States and the world around her.  Her view of the world forever changed, and in her teen years, when she visited other countries, she vowed to make a difference.That “difference” would come later when, as a college student at Oakland University in Michigan, she founded the school’s first international service group called Global Medical Brigades.  Their goal … [Read more...]

Dec. 14: In the Nick of Time

Volunteers annually host a Christmas party at the New Milford, Connecticut firehouse for 40 youngsters from a nearby school for children with special needs.  One year, the party’s organizer, Peggy King, got word the day before the event that 60 kids would be attending.  Panicked because they only had 40 gifts with no more money in the budget, King needed a miracle.As she recalled in Guideposts magazine, King and her husband, Jerry, arrived at the firehouse the next day, gloomy at the sudden t … [Read more...]

Dec. 13: Both Sides

Walking along the main avenue in her neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon, Maggie was thinking about how she longed to just be alone.  Although she loved them both, the stress from her teenage daughter’s mood swings and from her husband’s job issues was beginning to take its toll.Suddenly Maggie ran into Ruth, a friend from the neighborhood.  “Say a prayer for me,” Ruth told Maggie.  “I am so lonely, and long for companionship—someone to just share the day’s moments with.”Her friend’s com … [Read more...]

Dec. 12: Baby, I Love You

During Advent, do you ever look up at the crucifix and try to imagine Jesus as a baby?  We see Jesus on the cross, see him in the Eucharist—but do you see him in your neighbor?  Or in the fussy baby a few pews ahead?God is love and of love.  When we struggle to see another person as a brother or sister of Christ—when we struggle to see ourselves that way—we should imagine a baby.  A vulnerable baby: so open to love, so willing to give its love through a touch or smile.This is the reason w … [Read more...]

Dec. 11: Gathering All In

When Kathleen Basi’s daughter was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome, she started to think back on her own growing up years and how she dealt with persons with disabilities.  “It seems easier to pretend they aren’t there, to let our eyes slide past and not engage,” she says.But her daughter’s own diagnosis made her want to change her behavior and help others also be more accepting.  Here are two of her ideas for parents.▪ Get to know students with special needs in your children’s schoo … [Read more...]

Dec. 10: Faith Unfolding Over Time

Josef Vollmer-König was a widower for two years when he noticed that a song drawn from the Bible’s Book of Isaiah seemed to follow him everywhere.“No matter what church I went into, ‘Here I am, Lord,’ was being sung,” he recalled.  When the Dallas, Texas, resident, even heard the song during a family Baptism in Germany, he decided to answer God’s call.  Returning home, he began studies for the priesthood, and was ordained in 2001 at the age of 60.While some may feel the progression from h … [Read more...]

Dec. 9: The Rescuers

Forty-six-year-old Roger Andersen lost control of his car due to weather conditions on a winding road in Logan, Utah, in December 2011.  The car slid into an icy river, flipped over, and became submerged.  Though he could get out of the vehicle, his two children and their friend were trapped inside.  Passersby who saw what happened stopped immediately and jumped into the freezing water to help.  “Within seconds,” Andersen told the Associated Press, “there were eight men in the river.”They got … [Read more...]

Dec. 8: Christmas Delights

The weeks leading up to Christmas can sometimes seem like a burden: obligatory family events, parties to attend, traveling, shopping.  But what about Christmas itself?Before the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph traveled afar to be counted in the census.  Far away from their home town of Nazareth, they found shelter in a stable in time to rejoice in the Christ child’s birth.  And who was there to celebrate with them?  Strange shepherds and mysterious angels.When we celebrate Christmas, we a … [Read more...]