1:23 p.m.

I totally didn't even realize that today is Christmas until I saw Zack and Emma opening some presents that Cindy gave them this morning. She must've packed those before we left the village two weeks ago. Cindy's really been doing a great job of being a foster mom to those two kids. I'm kind of surprised that nobody else is even acknowledging that today is a holiday. After all, we did celebrate Thanksgiving at the Picketts' house. Aldo thinks it's just a completely different way of life when you live at the Temple, but even he isn't quite sure, because he's lived in the village for the entire time that he's been on the Island.

This down-time that we've had at the Temple for the last few days has made me reflect on everything we've lost recently, particularly all the people that died -- first the Picketts a few weeks ago, and then those ten people on Ryan's team that went to raid the beach camp, which included Diane, Tom, Luke, Ivan, and a bunch of guys I barely knew... and then there's Beatrice who's been missing for several days and is presumed dead... and the same with Mikhail who hasn't been heard from since he left the camp the night before Ben left. And then Harper. I still can't shake that image of her being dragged on the ground and down the hole by that smoke thing!

All of this has made me re-question what we're really doing on this island and whether it's all worth it, but Richard reassured all of us that we're still here for important reasons. In fact, he told us this yesterday, right after coming back from seeing Jacob! Richard had realized it was necessary to consult with Jacob, since we had no way of knowing if Ben was even still alive, much less in charge. Apparently the word from Jacob is that Ben is still alive somewhere on the Island and that all we need to do is be patient and wait to hear from him for further instructions. The other surprising news that Richard got from Jacob is that John Locke is still alive, and that he'll become our new leader the next time we see him! This is really exciting news to those here who believe it. I'm still a little skeptical as to whether any of it is true. How does Jacob even know all of this? And how do I even know that Richard even spoke to anybody at all? He could just be saying stuff to keep people's spirits up. But for the time being, believing or not believing this stuff doesn't really make much difference. We still have to wait here inside the Temple until we figure out that it's safe to do anything else. I hate waiting, but I'd rather wait than take my chances with that smoke thing or whatever invaders from that freighter are out there!

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