December 23, 2009
Dear family and friends,

December 2009 is the anniversary of two life-changing events in my life and 2009 was also a year of some significant events in the Kennedy family so I'll get right into it.

Fifteen years ago this month I completed my formal conversion to Orthodoxy, the church of the first generations of Christians and which has remained substantially unchanged in doctrine and practice for the past 1500 years, after living my first 52 years as a Protestant-evangelical. (The real conversion, that of the heart, is unending as long as life goes on, of course.)

And ten years ago this month, while working on Y2K remediation for the city of Los Angeles from an apartment in Marina Del Rey, I suffered a small stroke (a "TIA" in medical parlance) and subsequently was diagnosed as diabetic and with hypertension. The first event changed my theology and spiritual practices; the second changed my eating and drinking habits and everything connected to those, and made my daily gym routine a prescribed part of my lifestyle, not an option.

Four major family events occurred in 2009. First, my brother Bob lost his wife Katie in July. She had been severely limited some years earlier by a stroke, but had regained consciousness and was able to share in daily life and conversation while wheelchair-bound. I was able to be in Willows, California, their home town about three hours away from mine in San Jose, for the funeral, which was one of the most heart-warming celebrations of a life I ever witnessed. She had lived her entire life (89 years) in that area and she and Bob lived in the home she and her first husband (who had passed away some years before she and Bob met) moved into after marrying in 1941 or '42. Bob, who celebrated his 80th birthday in June, continues living there and as he has no other family in this part of the country, I am trying to visit him more frequently. He was able to continue his practice of going "home" for the Vintondale Homecoming at Labor Day weekend.

The second event was the birth of a baby girl, Evelyn Rose, to my son Michael and his wife Tracy, also at the end of July. Evelyn is my third grandchild and the first by either of my sons.

New grand-daughter Evelyn Rose Kennedy takes center stage in O'Pa Jon's arms. Uncle Kevin is on the left and proud daddy Mike is on the right.

The third event was that Chris, my daughter (who passed the milestone of turning 40 this year), was approved for her long-awaited housing grant and was able to move into a large three-bedroom apartment for herself and her children, Brandi, 18, and Antony, 13. That leaves me living alone again but I'm enjoying the relative quiet and independence. They are living about ten miles away on the west side of San Jose.

Finally, in August son Kevin, who turns 34 next month, became engaged to his girlfriend, Bernadette. They are hoping to tie the knot next August.

I continue to enjoy my retirement and completed two book manuscripts in 2009 and am in Chapter 6 of a third. None have been accepted for publication; the industry is especially "tight" these days and marketing my work has always been a weak link in my chain. I am looking for an agent to take care of that for me but thus far even that search has produced little fruit. Both of my "Everything books," Everything Jesus and The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, have now been reviewed on Amazon and received high praise. Two of these later books continue my first love in my writing, Christian apologetics, and the third is a historical review.

May the babe born in the manger be born in your heart this Christmas, and best wishes for many good things in 2010.

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 |

Nanty Glo, Pa., pictures by Judy Rose; video animation by Jon Kennedy.
Christmas music from "Somewhere in My Memory" (Home Alone) by John Williams