Donald R. McClarey

A Clean Slate For Christmas

My bride, our son and I went to Confession today.  As always, I felt after Confession as if a ton of weight had just been taken off my shoulders, Here is the formula that I have followed for Confessions since childhood:

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A Proclamation

  The twenty-fifth day of December. In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth; the two thousand nine hundred

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December 24, 1968: In the Beginning

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Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Something for a Christmas Weekend.  Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Written by Charles Wesley in 1739, the hymn we enjoy today developed and changed over a century with input from many hands.  No hymn I think better exemplifies the sheer joy

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Do They Know What Christmas Is?

  Just in time for Christmas!  From those talented and delightfully twisted folks of The Lutheran Satire.

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Thirty Five Years Ago: Reagan Christmas Address

On December 23, 1981, President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation.  The video above is an excerpt from that speech.  The portion of the address dealing with the attempt by the then Polish Communist regime to crush Solidarity, the Polish labor

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Christmas “Nuts!” at Bastogne

    Seventy-two years ago at Christmas the American and German armies were fighting it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War.   Patton’s Third Army fought its way through to relieve the Americans

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Bishop Sheen on the True Meaning of Christmas

  First broadcast in 1956, Bishop Sheen puts his own unique spin on the eternal mystery of Christmas, God becoming Man, Creator becoming Created.  It is interesting how philosophical and complicated Sheen’s presentation is.  Recall that his show was broadcast on commercial

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Eddi’s Service

  The thirty-second in my on-going series on the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here

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Francis Pharcellus Church, the Little Girl and Santa Claus

Francis Pharcellus Church was a newspaper man to his marrow.  As a young man he had covered the Civil War for the New York Times and with his brother William he founded the Army and Navy Journal which dedicated itself

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Boy Dies in Santa’s Arms

  Go here to read a story that I defy anyone to finish with a dry eye.  May the boy even now be enjoying the Beatific Vision and his first Christmas in Heaven.

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A Proclamation

  The twenty-fifth day of December. In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth; the two thousand nine hundred

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Good Lives On

      [27] She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. [28] Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. [29] Many daughters have gathered together

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Christmas at Bastogne

In 1944 at Christmas the American and German armies were slugging it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War. Patton’s Third Army rammed its way through to relieve the Americans desperately fighting to defeat the

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Santa Roosevelt

Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight. Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of the United States, on hearing of the death of Theodore Roosevelt One of his worst enemies

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Washington Refuses to be Beaten

    Each year, as Christmas is approaching, I think of a Christmas long ago in 1776.  The year in which we declared our independence from Great Britain was a year of military disaster for the United States.  Washington and

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Video Clip Worth Watching: Battle of the Bulge Sermon

A film clip from Battleground (1949), a rousing tribute to the heroic stand of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne at Christmas 1944, which helped turn the tide of the Battle of the Bulge. Seventy-one years ago on December 16, 1944 the Germans

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Christmas Star

Artist Herbert Morton Stoops had served in World War I in France in the field artillery.  In 1944 he painted the above immortal picture that conveys powerfully the meaning of Christmas to a soldier far from home.

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Christmas 1944: Battle of the Bulge

In 1944, seventy years ago, at Christmas the American and German armies were fighting it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War. Patton’s Third Army fought its way through to relieve the Americans desperately

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Union Christmas Dinner

Published on December 31, 1864, and drawn by Thomas Nast,  the above picture has Lincoln inviting the starving Confederate states to join the Christmas dinner of the Union States.  The print brings  to mind the phrase that  Lincoln would make

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Patton on Prayer

    “Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who

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The Messiah on Mott Street

Every now and then, God remembers the tenements. Buckner, The Messiah on Mott Street     In my early teen years I was a fan of Rod Serling’s anthology series Night Gallery.  Usually consisting of tales of  horror, on December 15,

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Linus, and Saint Luke, Say It All

As an explanation of why we celebrate Christmas each year, the above video is superb and concise. The words of Linus are of course taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding

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Theodore Roosevelt and the Christmas Tree

In the actual world a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid downgrade. Theodore Roosevelt, 1917 interview Ladies Home Journal-Among his ten reasons to go

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Keeping Wounded Vets Safe From Christmas Cards

    The madness and silliness that is the Obama administration continues apace.  Father Z gives us the details: From FNC (where there is also video): Boys and girls at Grace Academy in Prosper, Tex., spent most of last Friday making

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Larry’s First Christmas in Heaven

But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 I am choking back tears

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One Solitary Life

All the armies that have ever marched All the navies that have ever sailed All the parliaments that have ever sat All the kings that ever reigned put together   Have not affected the life of mankind on earth As

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A Proclamation

  The twenty-fifth day of December. In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth; the two thousand nine hundred

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Washington At Prayer

There is an old tradition that Washington prayed in the snow at Valley Forge on Christmas Day 1777.  Certainly the wretched condition of the Continental Army in December of 1777, with a hungry winter beginning, would have driven commanders less

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The Bishop’s Wife

Continuing our look at Advent and Christmas movies:  The Bishop’s Wife from 1947.    David Niven is an Episcopalian Bishop of a struggling diocese;  Loretta Young (ironically one of the more devout Catholics in the Hollywood of her time) is his wife;

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The True Meaning of Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast in 1965 on CBS.  I was 8 years old and I was stunned at the time by the passage of Linus quoting the Gospel of Luke in explaining the true meaning of Christmas. 

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Santa Claus Bootcamp

Hattip to Bookworm.  Mild language advisory.  Didn’t you always think it was odd that the United States Marine Corps Reserve runs Toys for Tots?  Now you know why!  Semper Santa!

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Francis Pharcellus Church, the Little Girl and Santa Claus

Francis Pharcellus Church was a newspaper man to his marrow.  As a young man he had covered the Civil War for the New York Times and with his brother William he founded the Army and Navy Journal which dedicated itself

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