Weekly TV Picks

SUNDAY, DEC. 18

All-Out Christmas

Home & Garden TV, 9 p.m.

Jesus is the Light of the World, as these displays of Christmas lights should remind us all. Re-airs Dec. 23 at 8 p.m., Dec. 24 at 9 p.m. and Dec. 25 at 9 a.m.

SUNDAY, DEC. 18

Winter Treats Unwrapped

Food Network, 9 p.m.

Candy-cane trees, Yule logs, ribbon candy and pails of popcorn are on the Christmas snack menu tonight, and we also tour a big soup factory.

TUESDAY, DEC. 20

March of the

Wooden Soldiers

Familyland TV, 10:30 a.m.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy defend Toyland from bogeymen in this beloved musical comedy, which made its debut as Babes in Toyland in 1934.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 21

Where Christmas Began

Travel Channel, 6 p.m.

This program helps us follow the travels of the Holy Family and the Wise Men.

THURSDAY, DEC. 22

A Very Ermey Christmas

History Channel, 4 p.m.

Ex-Marine R. Lee “Gunny” Ermey shows us how troops in wartime ever since Valley Forge have marked the birth of the Prince of Peace. Advisory: TV-PG. Re-airs Dec. 23 at 11 p.m.

SATURDAY, DEC. 24

Ultimate Holidaytown USA

A&E, 1 p.m.

Twenty small towns match decorations and festivities in competition for the Holidaytown title.

SAT.-SUN., DEC. 24-25

Christmas With

The Duke All Day

AMC

This marathon of John Wayne films begins with Three Faces West at 6:15 a.m. Saturday and concludes with Rio Grande at 10:15 p.m. Sunday.

SUNDAY, DEC. 25

Christmas Day

EWTN, all day

Highlights include Mass from Irondale, Ala., live at 1 a.m.; the Pope's blessing urbi et orbi, live at 6 a.m.; midnight Mass at St. Peter's, a re-air at 8 a.m.; and Catholic University's Christmas Concert at 8 p.m.

SATURDAY, DEC. 31

U.S. Olympic Team Trials:

Freestyle Skiing

NBC, 2:30 p.m.

Freestyle aerials and moguls are the main events in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

SATURDAY, DEC. 31

Live From Lincoln Center:

New Year's Eve Gala

PBS, 8 p.m.

The New York Philharmonic and Romanian soprano Angela Gheorgiu perform the “Ave Maria” from Mascagni's “Cavalleria Rusticana,” as well as works by Puccini, Rossini, Verdi and others.

Dan Engler writes from Santa Barbara, California.

Horace Vernet, “The Angel of Death,” 1851

Don’t Wait to Cram for Your ‘Final Exam’

“Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven — through a purification or immediately — or immediate and everlasting damnation.” (CCC 1022)

Francisco de Zurbarán, “The Family of the Virgin,” ca. 1650

Why Do We Ask Mary to Pray for Us?

“After her Son’s Ascension, Mary ‘aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers.’ In her association with the apostles and several women, ‘we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation.’” (CCC 965)