By Tim Von Dohlen

The Magic of Christmas

December 16, 2019

Christmas is my favorite holiday and season of the year. Music adds so much to the magic of Christmas. We know that the first Christmas was the miracle of Christ’s birth to the Virgin Mary for the salvation of souls – God’s gift to the whole world of His only son Jesus Christ. Music lifts a person’s spirits and brings joy to those singing and listening.

In this fast-paced world in which we live with the focus on materialism there needs to be something that causes us to look inside ourselves and to think more of others instead of ourselves. At Christmas two things do this to me:  (1) As Mathew Kelly says, “going into the classroom of silence” and (2) secondly, music.

Certainly, that’s Christmas music but really any music that produces a beautiful sound in the language of the singer’s choice, demonstrates remarkable talent, and wonderful harmony when two or more join in the singing.

Andrea Bocelli and the San Antonio symphony

Pat and I had an enchanting evening this December in San Antonio to hear the accomplished internationally known Andrea Bocelli sing songs from various operas and magnificent accompaniment by female vocalists and the outstanding San Antonio symphony. This in itself was terrific, but when joined with the story of Bocelli’s life and his life’s meaning and contributions to mankind this was remarkable.

Taking a closer look at the life of Andrea Bocelli, I did not realize he was totally blind until that evening. Even more so, I did not know that his mother was advised to abort him during pregnancy because of a possible disability. His mother refused. Just think of the loss of this incredible human being if Bocelli had not been born. When asked in an interview about his situation Bocelli made clear how he felt as an outspoken critic of abortion and supporter of protection of the unborn.

It is this type of human-interest story that causes us to pray for greater understanding and softening of the heart of pro-abortion advocates. One of Bocelli’s fantastic songs is The Prayer sung with Celine Dion which you should google to hear.

Advent: Liturgical season of vigilance

In Bishop Robert Barron’s Advent Gospel Reflections, he writes, “for the great journey of Advent, the liturgical season of vigilance – or of waiting. Waiting is very hard for most of us. We are driven, determined, goal oriented, fast moving…want answers, direction, clarity – and want them pronto…G. K. Chesterton said that if you are on the wrong road, the very worst thing you can do is to move quickly. Or perhaps we are made to wait because we are not yet adequately prepared to receive what God wants to give us. St. Augustine argued that the ‘purpose of unanswered prayer is to force an expansion of the heart’.” Let us use this Advent time to bring Jesus closer into our lives and into our hearts.

New book about second, even third, chances in life

During this active and productive year, Pat and I submitted the draft of our book “The Journey Is Everything” to the publisher. It is a book about second and even third chances in life after tragedy strikes and that there is reason for hope when we put our trust in God.

It is our love story. It also shares what we have been able to accomplish after deciding whatever projects we were going to pursue during our marriage, we would do together.

The book should be in print by the end of March 2020 and it will be available through Amazon and online. (Catholic Business Journal will make sure readers have ready access when it it is available—ed.) 

It has been great working together, Pat and I, to make this happen. While this was not a supernatural miracle, we look at completion as one of those miracle moments that God lets us enjoy when we have our hearts open to find God’s joy for us in life.

Confirming the name of St. John Paul II for the Life Center

Similarly, we used our 10-day trip to Poland in the footsteps of St. John Paul II to confirm that we had made the right decision in naming the St. John Paul II Life Center, which we co-founded in Austin, Texas, with JPII as our patron. By the time our trip ended, we had no doubt that his was the right name to use.

We used video footage taken in Poland to capture the brilliance of St. Pope John Paul II as we told the story of our Center in the videoThe Magic of Christmas. You can see the video by going to Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope John Paul II, had a life filled with blessings from God and which demonstrated the beauty of openness to the miracles of life.

Our obligations as Catholic businessmen and women in 2020

As Catholic businessmen and women, we have a responsibility to stand up for the truth. The teachings of our faith are the truth and have not changed for over 2,000 years. We must learn to speak up and speak out when someone attacks our Catholic truths.

We must be discerning in 2020 of politicians who hold himself or herself out to be Catholic but their actions demonstrate they do not follow Catholic truths. When they vote for and even sponsor legislation on abortion (an intrinsic evil) and contrary to our Catholic faith, we must not vote for them.

One of the best guides for voters is to compare party platforms. No party is completely correct, but we must not let secular humanism drive God out of involvement in our lives and the future of America. We must remember, we are a Judeo-Christian nation and we must remain so.

Hoping you enjoy your family and friends and put joy in your life and others. Remember, the magic of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence (Author Unknown).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Timothy Von Dohlen is a seasoned Catholic Business Journal columnist and the founder and president of the St. John Paul II Life Center and Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas. ( He may be reached at

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