Epiphany: The phenomenon that is Christmas Day.

If you are celebrating the birth of our Lord, then you are doing one of two things by now: sitting at a relative’s house reminiscing on good times or you are sitting at a relative’s house enduring awkward conversation till it’s time to leave. Over the years, I’ve been through both of these scenarios to some extent. Inevitably people will fight or quarrel over something; thus turning quality time into want-to-leave-immediately time. All people go through seasons of their life in which they feel isolated; wishful that someone will help them even if they are knowingly being distant.

It’s human nature, which guess what – ain’t exactly perfect.

But year-in and year-out, we still gather with family for some much needed group therapy. And that’s exactly how I see it these days – group therapy. But it’s group therapy in the grandest way possible. We commune with one another because we celebrate the birth of the Light of the world. And that’s something that never changes,despite the changing seasons of our lives and the inherent nature of our very beings.

So enjoy 2012’s “group therapy” session as best you are able. Uplift the one who needs it most and be open to this subtle healing opportunity if you need it too.Because next year things will be different once more, but the celebration of God’s gift stays the same.

My hope for you is to spend this time with those who aren’t just family, but fellow members of a much larger family that’s in need of some comfort and support. But hey, remember to have some fun while you’re at it.


– J.C.L.

Where did November go?

It’s the one month out of 12 that probably flies by the fastest during a given year. Just when you’re done with Halloween decorations and sending pictures of your costume off to friends, you turn around and see that Thanksgiving has approached, Black Friday swoops in and a few days later, it’s December. How does that happen?

I’ve had a few theories on this phenomenon so allow me to elaborate, albeit briefly.

1) You decorate heavily for Halloween and Christmas – not for Thanksgiving

Sure, you make turkey-themed vegatable spreads and the kids at school bring home turkeys drawn from their hand, but you don’t really decorate for Thanksgiving like you do for Halloween or Christmas. It’s just not a holiday to do so. Instead you’ll spend your days prepping food, making travel arrangements, and ultimately deciding on which relatives you can tolerate the most on a day that will likely involve tons of food, football, and yelling at televisions.How lovely. By the time you’re taking down your Halloween decor, you’ve cooked a turkey and are already gearing up for December. Yes, the transition allows little time to contemplate what is really happening here.

2) There are hardly any movies centered around Thanksgiving.

Can you even name five films about Thanksgiving? How about five songs? The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade does not count for either category, by the way. Where Halloween and Christmas have gads of films and songs circulating their big day, Thanksgiving gets the shaft. No documentary of the pilgrim’s first historic supper; no sing-along dedicated to the slaughtering of turkeys; not one shout of praise concerning this ancient tradition. And before you start Googling (as I know you will be), try coming up with a song of your own. Thanksgiving needs one anyway.

3) Christmas music starts in November

This is rather straightforward. If we begin to hear the tunes of Christmas, we start to put our minds in that very place. This year started a little early for me as Jingle Bell Rock hit the airwaves as early as November the 18th (for the sake of the Jewish community, I’ll stick with a holiday-themed song). Sure, I want to get in the spirit as much as anybody else, but mid-November? That’s a little premature is it not? Well, to millions of Americans, apparently it’s not.

4) Thanksgiving puts us in a food coma (among other things)

Another straightforward reason for why November flies on by. Once you’ve eaten enough food on Thanksgiving, your body and brain go on relative shut down for about 72 hours. That’s three whole days people. Despite our best intentions, we may walk away from a relative’s house with a stomach full of cranberry sauce, pumpkin rolls, turkey and enough potatoes to back up one’s colon for a whole weekend. And when the time comes to “cleanse” the bowels, you’d best find a public restroom because Lord knows your house plumbing is not meant to handle what’s about to take place.

5) Lastly, it may snow in November, which again, makes us think of December.

Unless you live in Hawaii, there’s a chance you’ll see some snow in November during the year. And when it comes, you’re filled with mixed emotions. Sure, it’s nice to have a change of scenery, and the trees look so beautiful with that single coat of snow on their branches, but come on, does the temperature really have to drop? What if it snowed when it was warm? Would that be more fun? Or just annoying? I can’t really decide as the mere concept makes my head hurt (as well as bring back some painful memories). The last time I associated myself with “warm” and “snow”, someone was peeing their pants on the taboggan. Who that was, I’ll take that to the grave.

And hey, that too makes me think of December. The peeing your pants part, of course.