Every day I go to work and spend time with suffering people. They come to me for help and for comfort. They open up to me with problems that they would not tell anyone else. They put trust in me — even if I am not able to fix their problems. I serve as a source of healing, but I also am a source of hope.
Christmas is a moving season for many of the same reasons. No, I am not talking about the giving of gifts or the time spent with family. I am not talking about traditions, church services, or singing carols. I am not even talking about what many see as thereal meaning of Christmas: Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, and baby Jesus. The Christmas story most of us see in pictures or read about in story books is a far cry from the Biblical account. The story we see and hear is sanctified, clean, and safe.
Before I go on, I want to assure my readers that I am in no way trying to persuade them to become Christians. I am a Christian, but whether or not you believe the actual truth of the story, there is much to be learned from it. I find it terribly hard to see the real Christmas story here in a country where the season is filled with so much else — much of it very good. It is far easier to just be happy with family, friends, giving gifts, singing songs, and maybe even going to church, than it is to contemplate the Christmas story. I think the Christians in our culture have gotten way off base on this — much to our shame.
Christmas is not about prosperity and comfort. It is about help to the hopeless. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*
Research has shown that giving to others can lead to a healthier, happier, and longer life. Generous behavior reduces depression and risk of suicide in adolescents. Volunteerism on the part of older adults significantly reduces mortality. Giving to others enables people to forgive themselves for mistakes — a key element in well-being.
One way to have a lot of fun on the Internet and get a health boost while doing so is to log on to a cool site called Kiva. For as little as $25.00, ordinary people like you and me can be part of the worldwide microloan (or microcredit) community. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
This past weekend Oscar-nominated Hollywood and Broadway actress Jill Clayburgh died at age 66. The cause was chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which she had been fighting, privately, for 21 years.
As you may recall, I, too, have CLL and I was diagnosed at the same age, 45. For me, I am 16 and a half years into that “battle” although, fortunately, I have been feeling very good in the ten years since I received treatment as part of a breakthrough clinical trial. While I have no symptoms and take no medicine I do not consider myself cured.
So when someone like Ms. Clayburgh dies of CLL after 21 years, I can’t help but wonder if the disease will shorten my life too, even if I feel good now. That brings up the question of what do we do with the time we have when we know we have had a serious diagnosis and the clock may be ticking for us — or not? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*