The Surfing Santa is Southern California’s most popular holiday image. At this time of year I tend to focus upon things spiritual, rather than upon their temporal physical world counterparts.
Whether you believe Christ Jesus to be God, view him as the exalted physical representation of God’s spiritually created man, or neither of these things, you may also be spending some of your holiday season focused upon things eternal and spiritual.
But don’t be led astray, dear readers. I don’t go about Christmastime in a spiritual haze, feeling above, and smugly superior to, the material world holidays, with all of their hustle, hype, and bustle.
Nothing could be further from the truth. While putting greater emphasis on the spiritual, I fully appreciate and celebrate the “Now you have them, and then you don’t,” simple joys of physical personhood, including the breakneck pace that marks our observation of this special time.
So I’ll be “all in” for the warm, sunny circus that is Southern California Christmas.
That includes addressing too many greeting cards, shopping excessively, driving in traffic, entertaining, and overdoing things a tad at parties.
And while many will be traveling and vacationing over the holidays, I’ll be home, working like that proverbial Trojan: revising and rewriting my upcoming novel: Going and Coming: The Minnow Saint James Metaphysical Adventures, Book One, in advent of its January 22 release.
This is as it should be. Going and Coming is highly important to me – in many ways, the book is the embodiment of my decades-long desire to fold metaphysical themes into a work of popular fiction.
Several of this season’s most important events have already come and gone. Among them was the annual Christmas Lessons and Carols program at David and my Long Beach, California, church. You see, David, my spouse of twenty-something years, is pianist and organist for this event – a joyous musical and scriptural celebration of Christ’s birth. By virtue of its importance to my better half, it has great value and worth for me. This year, Christmas Lessons and Carols was on Sunday, December 6.
The program was beautiful, successful, and David and I are most grateful for the many friends who attended.
Our one hundred or so holiday cards, a family tradition, were mailed on Friday, November 27, the day after Thanksgiving.
Two days later, we purchased the Christmas tree for our living room – this year, a six-foot Douglas Fir. See below.
As it happens, our Christmas tree Sunday coincides with one of Los Angeles’ oldest and most-cherished holiday events, The Hollywood Christmas Parade, a star-studded caravan that is telecast worldwide.
Not really one for massive crowds, I stopped attending in person after my first few years in town. These days, I enjoy watching parade highlights on our local television news.
Shaking the Holiday Blues Away, the Christmastime short story that introduces Dr. Minnow Saint James, the lead character in my new novel, will be released Friday, December 11. This saga, alternates between Christmastime 2015, and Christmastimes 1920-21-22. Family stories told to me by my Dad about his father were fictionalized in my holiday tale…
Yes, the cards have been mailed and received; the tree is up, and Christmas Lessons and Carols, as well as The Hollywood Christmas Parade, have already come and gone. But there’s plenty of Los Angeles holiday fun ahead.
Just for openers, we’ll be celebrating the birthday of our dear friend, Mary Douglass, here from her Tipperary, Ireland, home on December 15.
Much of my holiday time will be spent expressing gratitude for the many blessings of my life. At the top of the blessings I’ll be counting off are health, the wonderful man with whom I share my life, my friends, and good work that yields great professional fulfillment.
The no-show Godzilla El Nino not withstanding, El Lay doesn’t do, white Christmas.
For months, Southern California has been warned about a so-called “too big to fail-Godzilla El Nino that will drench us. It was first predicted to appear in October. October morphed into November, and then into December. It would seem that El Nino is asleep at the wheel. So, weather wise, on this Los Angeles Christmas, the sun will shine, the ocean breeze blow, the orange and palm trees will sway.
And when all is said and done, mailed and wrapped, signed, sealed, and delivered, I’ll be contemplating the pop holiday song, “The Secret of Christmas,” and remembering what’s important: It’s not the things I do at Christmastime, but the Christmas things I do all year through.
Merry Christmas, one and all.