December 24, 2012
Dear family and friends,

This is my usual letter recapping the year at Christmas. All of the previous Christmas letters, since the Home Page's first Christmas, 1997, are archived on this index.

The highlight of 2012 for me was being able to spend the whole summer back home, flying back to Philadelphia on my seventieth birthday. After a weekend college reunion in Lancaster County, I reconnected with my one-time college roommate, Darrell Kopp, and his wife, Linda, in Cape May, NJ, for a wonderful week. Then, through the generous hospitality of Jim Toth of the NTAMHS, I was able to work at the Liberty Museum Cafe in Nanty Glo (like all the cafe workers, as a volunteer) from June 10 through Labor Day. Jim and I hit it off and both seem to consider the summer a great time. It was my first and only long-term visit in Pennsylvania since moving to New Jersey in 1964, and from there on to California in 1968. I also had a great visit with my Aunt Erma in Altoona; at 97, she is the only family member of my parents' generation still with us.

The whole summer was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one I am still very thankful for. Those who follow my blog will have already read a lot about it, so I won't say more in this limited space. A serendipidous side effect of the summer back east was my deciding that if I could do that, I should accept the invitation of my missionary friends in Belfast, Ireland, to join their work there for a year or more, so I have been planning, ever since getting back to California, on doing that, leaving here (Lord willing) on February 28. My "official" capacity will be as "C.S. Lewis writer in residence at the Loom ministry center" in Belfast. Belfast is Lewis's home town and you may recall that I had an opportunity to give a talk about him there just over two years ago. And to live up to my billing, I have thrown most of my attention and energy since getting back to California into two more books, both of which are now ready to publish. One of these, C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, a collection of short takes on his life and influence, has been uploaded to Amazon Kindle and should be available there later this week (I wanted to price it at $1.99, but Kindle insists it be at least $2.99).

Now to the family news. All my children and grand-children have had a good year in 2012, thank the Lord. Highlights were a new grand-daughter, Delilah, born to Mike and Tracy April 26. And grandson Antony (now 16) made a short video of me, talking about the Nanty Glo Home Page, which got used for a Nanty Glo feature on the State College, Pa., PBS-TV station. The whole program has continued to be a great hit for Nanty Glo and Blacklick Valley people like me. Antony seems to be enjoying high school life, more in the vein of his grandpa than some of his closer kin. Brandi (21), has moved jobs again, from a Saks Fifth Avenue store to a Nordstrom's in our area's busiest mall. Sons Mike and Kevin still are working in their careers in pipe fitting and network engineering, respectively, and have continued having steady work. Mike's daughters, three-year-old Evy and infant Lilah, are the apple of their grandpa's eye.

The Kennedy clan gathered in front of Mike and Tracy's Christmas tree on December 15. Surrounding me ("Santa") from the left are Bernadette and Kevin, Evelyn in her Mom Tracy's arms, baby Delilah being held by Dad Mike, Chris, Antony, and Brandi (who also took the picture).

May the babe born in the manger be born in your heart this Christmas, and best wishes for many good things in 2013.

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 |

Winter theme picture from Nanty Glo Home Page; origin unknown