Writer Matthew Litt tells of an extraordinary Christmas in his book, "Christmas 1945." He describes the first Christmas in peacetime after WW II. Readers of the New York Daily News woke up to headlines announcing that "Carriers of Compassion" would soon be parked in New York Harbor on Christmas Day. The newspaper described how the gathering would be a mighty fleet whose mission was not war but compassion. The four battleships, six carriers, seven cruisers and twenty four destroyers would be hosting 1,000 needy children whose gifts would be a perfectly fitted navy blue coat and matching woolen cap which were gift wrapped and waiting on board.

After each Christmas some people query," Why can't we have that Christmas spirit all the time?" This makes me cringe because I want to say, "What do you mean?" Or, "Why can't we?" This New Year I'm going to say exactly that, not only about this subject but lots of others. I've a feeling I won't be the most popular person in the room, but hey, like Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, "The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask."

Frying eggs this morning and peeling carrots I thought about going through the motions. You know, the everyday motions of life, of habit; like how we crack an egg, shovel the sidewalk, answer when a checkout gal asks, "How are you today?" (I cannot help but think, she doesn't even know me, why would she care?) Finally, on Christmas Eve I got real. I said, 'Exhausted and in a big hurry, could you double bag everything for me?"

She laughed and without a moment's hesitation she replied, "At last, an honest answer!"

Holidays always make me think about my dad and his wonderful way with everything and everyone. His favorite saying, which I now use frequently, included "Heads up!"

I remember his magical bran muffins. That is the only baking he ever did and he baked his moist bran muffins very early every Sunday before church while his world-class spaghetti sauce slowly gurgled on the stove.

I always knew what time is was by the fragrance of those baking raisin or chopped-date filled muffins. I would jump out of bed and be the first one at the table to have my fill with cold milk and scrambled eggs.

The best advice I can provide this New Year is from a wise person named Christian Larson. His words are on a magnet, which decorates my refrigerator. "Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimisms come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side as long as you are true to the best that is in you."

Happy 2013; wow, three is my lucky number!