December 22, 2007
Dear family and friends,

This is my annual Christmas letter recapitulating the year that "fast away passes." Thanks be to God that all in my family circle have come through 2007 without permanent bodily injury or loss.

The most notable crises were a fire at son Mike and Tracy's rented home in San Jose last Christmas and an auto accident while granddaughter Brandi was driving. Mike and Tracy were out visiting family when they got a call that their house was on fire and the fire department was already there or on the way. Their part of the house (it also includes a small apartment that wasn't damaged) had to be rebuilt inside, so they had to find a new place to live. And in November Brandi was driving the good used car she had just bought the day before, when she struck a parked pickup truck. She broke a bone in her hand that is still healing, but thankfully her passenger, her friend Stephie, was not injured. The car was "totaled," however.

The biggest event involving our family this year was Mike and Tracy's wedding in May, the "biggest" wedding I've ever taken part in. I had to have the total tuxedo wardrobe to make my appearance as father of the groom. And I was honored to host the rehearsal dinner at a local restaurant.

The 'Kennedy' members of the wedding: Back row, Kevin, Chris, and Jon; middle row: Tracy, Mike, and Brandi; front: Antony.

My Everything Jesus book didn't make any bestseller lists and in fact elicited only two reader contributions on its Amazon page, a four-star review by one reader (Jeremy Sanders of Nashville, Tenn.) and a very good customer discussion essay by my longtime friend Larry Miller, who now lives in Texas. It was reviewed in Again magazine along with an excerpt and a short article I wrote on the approach I took in the book, in last winter's edition. I finished The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia in February, then learned that the publisher had decided to hold it for release next February, to be in stores when the next Narnia movie (Prince Caspian) comes out in May. It is already available for pre-ordering on Amazon, and there are signs that the publisher is more dedicated to promoting this one than they did the Jesus Book. It has much better cover art and they are including photos from Lewis's life through the biographical portion of the book (thirteen of its twenty chapters).

In the process of doing the Lewis book, I got inspired to take up another aspect of his life and work—his sanctification or suitability for sainthood—which I have been working on ever since. It entails reading all of his published correspondence, which runs to 3000 pages, so it will be probably through Lent before I get through just that part of the project. Meanwhile, I got inspired to prepare a "re-Englished" version of one of Lewis's favorite and most highly recommended works, George MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons, which has long been out of print but is available online in the Victorian language that is hard for many modern readers (like me) to follow. I'm calling it Respoken Sermons and plan to publish it as (at least) a "Kindle book" on Amazon and an "e-book" elsewhere.

Another published work this year was an essay on C.S. Lewis as "an anonymous Orthodox Christian" (to borrow that term from Bishop Kallistos) for the Orthodox magazine Again. It has been warmly received by readers, with more comments, I believe, than my Jesus book on the whole has generated! And finally on the publishing front, I resumed writing weekly articles published on my Nanty Glo webpage, on the "overflow" of my work on C.S. Lewis. It now numbers 31 articles, including a two-part reprint of the Lewis article published in Again magazine.

Aunt Tommy and cousin Sandra

In late August-early September my brother Bob and I flew to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to visit our dear Aunt Tommy, now 100 years old and living in a care facility across the border in North Carolina (I erroneously said last year that she had already turned 101), and to visit our cousin Sandra and her husband Ronnie. We then drove by rental car to Pennsylvania for Bob's annual attendance at the Vintondale Reunion and his high school class reunion at Labor Day weekend, and be guests at a wonderful backyard picnic hosted by our friends Judy and Hobe Rose, in Revloc. We got to bike ride on the Revloc-to-Ebensburg portion of the Ghost Town Trail and I also got a first-time visit to the Pennsylvania Dutch village of Smicksburg in Indiana County, not far from Punxsutawney.

My main purpose of this trip was to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Nanty Glo Home Page, and that bore great fruit by being featured on the front page of the next week's Nanty Glo Journal through the efforts of the paper's then-new editor, Joe Vassalotti.

Bob and I then motored on to Motor City (Detroit) to visit relatives on our Kennedy side, our cousins Betty, Joy, and Dennis and Joy and Dennis's spouses. Finally, we spent our last two nights in Indiana state so Bob could visit his sisters-in-law and other relatives and friends. There we stayed in the wonderful hotel and tourist center, Essen Haus, near Middlebury, which is a center for Indiana's sizable Amish and Mennonite communities. And on our way to the airport at South Bend we made a quick stop at Notre Dame University, which I had long wanted to see and where I got some good pictures.

My "day job" continues to be rewarding in many ways, and I hope to begin my retirement in April, by cutting down from full-time to four days a week. Son Kevin this year got a job at Google which, besides being the best company to own stock in this past year, has probably the best employee benefits (including free food in on-site cafes and amenities like in-plant personal laundry facilities) of any company in Silicon Valley, if not the world. Way to go, Kev! He's also been able to do lots of work-related travel, including visits to Amsterdam, London, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Christmas blessings and best wishes for many good things in your new year.

jon
If you could have done it on your own,
what would have been the need for
the coming of the Lord? - St. Macarius

411 Lewis Rd. #342, San Jose, CA 95111 | 408-472-3082
jrk@nantyglo.com | http://www.nantyglo.com

Theme photo by Judy Rose, Nanty Glo, December 2007