December 31, 2013

In his book, You Can Change the World, The Christophers’ founder, Maryknoll Father James Keller, shared some ideas you may want to consider as New Year’s Resolutions. One piece of advice was, “All of us should pray as if all depended on God—and work as if everything depended on ourselves…The more we realize our strength is rooted in God, the more we will be inspired by an exhilarating assurance that nothing can daunt us.” Another one of Father Keller’s central... Read more

December 30, 2013

TV star and producer Dick Clark passed away in 2012, several years after being afflicted by a stroke.   Though his legacy includes American Bandstand and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, his most important accomplishment may be more recent. After his stroke in December 2004, many people assumed Clark’s on-camera career would end.  Instead, he returned to New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 2005.  His speech was slurred and he wasn’t able to move as he used to.  Yet underneath the debilitation, there... Read more

December 29, 2013

Many people start the New Year hoping to change for the better—lose weight, save money, exercise, quit smoking—but within weeks slip up and become discouraged.  According to Kelly McGonigal, author of The Willpower Instinct, we can strengthen our ability to stick with our goals.  Her tips for enhancing willpower include: ▪ Accept the busy, stressed person you are today.  “Don’t wait for the efficient person who resists all temptation to show up,” says McGonigal.  “Take action now and understand that... Read more

December 28, 2013

Dotan Negrin, born in New York City, always wanted to be an actor.  But as he got older, Negrin rethought his reasons for being an entertainer and wanted to broaden his horizons.  Using his knowledge of music and theater, he said, “I want to become a catalyst for change in the world.” His website, Piano Across America, chronicles Negrin’s story, as he, his dog, Brando and an upright piano travel in a truck across the United States. From Dupont Circle... Read more

December 27, 2013

Do you find it hard to save more and spend less money?  If so, you’re not alone, notes Carolyn T. Geer in her “Investing Basics” column in the Wall Street Journal.  One reason we need to set goals every year to save more and borrow less, she says, is that “we never seem to make any headway with them.” Geer cites one expert’s advice that “budgets have a major design flaw.  Because of their emphasis on self-denial, we are not... Read more

December 26, 2013

Following the post-Christmas blizzard that shut down large parts of New York City in 2010, Andrew Lauda, a Navy officer traveling from Virginia to Queens, New York, with his wife and baby to visit his parents, got stuck in the snow on a service road of the Long Island Expressway.  Lauda called the local TV station, WABC-TV, informing them that he was stranded for 18 hours on the road and could use some help. After that message was broadcast, it... Read more

December 25, 2013

The Scottish author and poet Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote books like Treasure Island and Kidnapped, once penned a memorable Christmas prayer that conveyed the true and divine meaning of the holiday: “Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men. “Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.  Let kindness come... Read more

December 24, 2013

In the Salesian booklet Glad Tidings of Joy, Delight D. Kilyan shares a Christmas poem called To Honor Him:   “In darkened sky a star shone bright, while angels sang that wondrous night / Of Jesus’ birth in stable dim, that all may come to honor Him. “To honor Him, our King of Kings, on Christmas Eve, the church bell rings, / And people gather from afar to celebrate that holy star, / Proclaiming Him, our Savior mild, the holy... Read more

December 23, 2013

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Matthew West has always had a year-round fascination with Christmas.  It’s not just the presents and decorations that attract him; it’s the focus on the birth of Jesus Christ. During an interview on Christopher Closeup following the release of his album The Heart of Christmas, West recalled that, when he was growing up, his parents always read the Christmas story in Luke’s gospel before any presents could be opened Christmas morning.  At the time, the waiting seemed like... Read more

December 22, 2013

During the 2011 Christmas season at an Omaha, Nebraska, Kmart, an anonymous donor paid $200 toward the balance of Lori Stearnes’ layaway account.  As someone who lives paycheck to paycheck, that act of kindness meant a great deal to her.  Filled with the Christmas spirit, Stearnes used the money she had planned to spend on presents to help someone else. In Indianapolis, a young father waited in line with his three children to make a payment on his layaway account,... Read more

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