The last embers of the fire that was 2016 are dying. Considering the notable deaths and turmoil of the year, many might say, “Good riddance, ‘16.” I guess if you look for the negative in the year, you’ll find it. But good things happened, too. Hopefully you find more good than bad in your own life. Speaking of looking for the bad…
Last year I started a new lecture called “Creepy Christmas.” What began with Krampus soon turned into uncovering many Yuletide monsters and legends around the world. The monsters were never the enemy of Santa Claus, they were cohorts. The consequences. Well, it turns out that even Santa has competition. This month I wanted to tell you about La Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy.
The legend varies depending on the region, but the gist involves the biblical magi, or Three Wise Men, who were on their way to bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus. En route, the magi stop to seek shelter for the night and end up at the door of Befana—the best housekeeper in the land. Befana is too busy cleaning, and doesn’t want to be bothered with the magi, so she turns them away.
The next night, she notices a star in the sky and realizes she should have been more hospitable to the magi, so she bakes some goodies and sets off to follow the star. The problem is she can’t find the baby Jesus, but she never gives up searching.
Now, each year on January 5th (the Eve of Epiphany), Belfana visits each home and leaves presents for the good children, and sticks or coal for the bad ones. And like a good housekeeper, she sweeps up before she leaves.
The sweeping isn’t just convenient, it’s a metaphor for sweeping away the troubles of the previous year. And we could all use that.
When I finish a project, whether a new episode of Ghost Adventures, a book, or something else that I’ve been working on for weeks, I try to clean my office. Not just because I left paper and junk everywhere, but because it does create a fresh canvas for my next undertaking.
As 2016 winds to a close, I turn my focus to the undertaking of 2017. I’m training for my Mt. Kilimanjaro climb in March. With your help I’ve raised over $10,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and am at 43% of my goal as of right now. If you’d like to help, please consider making a tax-deductible donation here: http://pages.teamint...mjr16/JBelanger. I also uploaded a video to that page that explains why I’m doing this climb, and it discusses the profound Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE) my brother-in-law experienced near his death.
From my family to yours, wishing you the happiest holiday season, and a 2017 full of adventures and stories that stir your soul!