Christmas is a tender time as it is. Our expectations, hopes, and regrets. God coming so close, becoming incarnate, yearning for us, also yearning for us to reach across difference and be more mindful of one another, our fellow passengers to the grave, as Dickens called us. Then Pelé led the way Thursday, Barbara Walters Friday, and Pope Benedict Saturday. They say the famous die in threes. This is a celebrity trinity for the ages — towering figures who touched billions of lives. Rest eternal grant to them, O Christ, and may light perpetual shine upon them.

Here’s Kathy Hannigan O’Connor’s and my album for the emotionally rich days since Christmas Day. We saw the Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens (a birthday gift from the Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy), especially enchanting in the rain and fog. We prowled the visitor center and gardens at Sunnylands, the Rancho Mirage Xanadu build by Ambassador Walter Annenberg, who among other things invented “TV Guide.” We hiked Andreas Canyon in Palm Springs as guests of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. We had a wonderful lunch in Indio with our old friends Deb Griffith and Sam Griffith from St. John Chrysostom Church in Rancho Santa Margarita. We boggled at Seward Johnson’s “Forever Marilyn” statue in Palm Springs, remembering sadly that the moment it depicts resulted in domestic violence against the actor by her husband, Joe DiMaggio. We went to Charlie Munger’s birthday party in Pasadena, coinciding as usual with New Year’s Eve, and chatted by Zoom with the man of the hour, at home in LA, since at 99, he’s learned to stay in out of the rain. We drove the Rose parade route, finding all in readiness. Finally, we prayed that Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen would find their mojo anchoring the festivities in Times Square for CNN. What do you think?

On New Year’s Day, 1 Christmas, and the Feast of the Holy Name of our Lord, I’ll have the blessing of being clergy supply at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – Downey, CA, where we’ll give thanks for everyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and pray for a great 2023 all around. God’s blessings to you this rainy, hopeful night.

Kathy Hannigan O’Connor with Robert Denham of All Saints Episcopal Church Pasadena, who, as managing independent director of the New York Times Co., helped the greatest newspaper in the world accomplish the leap from print to digital, and grow and thrive in the process.