CONTINUING a tradition, the annual dialogue between God and Your Favorite Columnist.

GOD: How you doing, Sonny?

YFC: Not so hot, as you know.

GOD: Got the blues, Sonny?

YFC: Kind of, and please stop calling me Sonny.

GOD: OK, kid.

YFC: I don't care for that, either.

GOD: People often get mad with God. It's OK. I can take it - and still forgive.

YFC: I've got the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary praying for me - they're friends of the Geator and I send them a check because that's all he's ever asked of me - I got a couple of rabbis on my side, plus a Muslim friend or two.

GOD: You're quite the ecumenical kid, aren't you?

YFC: No one owns the franchise on good or evil.

GOD: It's taken you a while to reach that level of enlightenment.

YFC: Maybe I picked it up in Thailand. I talked to Buddha.

GOD: Buddha! He's so lame.

YFC: What?

GOD: Just kiddding. Buddha's a cool dude. What happened to your sense of humor? I gave you that instead of math skills.

YFC: So that's why I can't work out percentages.

GOD: You don't have to, just use your iPhone calculator.

YFC: My iPhone has a calculator?

GOD: You want to talk about your bad year?

YFC: Not here. I kind of blame you.

GOD: Whoa! When people do bad things, kid, that's on them. I show them the light, but they have free will.

YFC: Was free will such a hot idea?

GOD: Now that you mention it . . . I'm infallible, but some things have unintended consequences.

YFC: Glad you can admit it.

GOD: So, what are you doing tomorrow night, kid?

YFC: Is that your indirect way of asking about Hanukkah?

GOD: I'm trying to be delicate, man. And have you guys finally agreed on how to spell it? Now you're using a double "k." It's like Finnish, for crying out loud.

YFC: First time in a long time I'll light the candles alone. Two neighbors, Michael and Harriet, have invited me to dinner.

GOD: Baked ham? Just kidding.

YFC: Brisket. And friendship.

GOD: You'll have a good time. How about Christmas?

YFC: I sent all the cards out, but first time in a long time, no gifts for spouse because there is no spouse. I sent the kids their checks, but I kind of miss buying presents for someone.

GOD: You do have an option.

YFC: She and I once agreed to make donations to each others' charities instead of buying gifts. That lasted until she changed her mind.

GOD: And so, now?

YFC: You're hinting, right? Instead of pouring money into personal gifts, I can make donations to charities.

GOD: That's what this season is supposed to be all about.

YFC: A lot of people are hurting. People are hungry, they've lost their jobs, they've lost their homes, they've lost their hope.

GOD: That's why I'm here, kid. I'm here, for you, and everyone.

YFC: There's one more thing.

GOD: Wassup?

YFC: Someone I know - a good man, an Army veteran, a huge Phillies fan - is fighting cancer and it's not going well. How could you . . .

GOD: That's the hardest thing I'm asked. Explaining these things is like you talking quantum physics with your cat.

YFC: I don't understand.

GOD: You just proved my point.

YFC: See what you can do, OK?

GOD: For you, and everyone else in pain, 2012 will be better.

YFC: Promise?

GOD: Look at a dollar. It says: "In God We Trust."

Email stubyko@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5977. See Stu on Facebook. For recent columns:

www.philly.com/Byko.