This month's issue is about change. It's a pretty common refrain these days.

This month's issue is about change. It's a pretty common refrain these days.

Specifically, the cover story looks at how our city has changed through the lens of holiday traditions, remembering our past with stories and pictures of iconic scenes like the Downtown Lazarus store. Who, 50 years ago, could have ever imagined our city without Lazarus? Things change.

As we were putting this issue together, I received an email from Clintonville resident Michael O'Brien. He said he'd been a Columbus Monthly subscriber since the very first issue in 1975 and had kept virtually every issue. Now he was downsizing and wondered if we wanted his library of back issues.

We did. I called him. It's not often that I get the chance to meet someone who not only has subscribed for 41 years, but has kept a copy of the nearly 500 issues we've published since inception.

O'Brien says he moved to Columbus from Tiffin in 1971. He was in college at Miami University when our first issue hit the streets. "I was still getting used to Columbus," he says. "Having not grown up here, I saw Columbus Monthly as an informational source, explaining things that I didn't know, giving perspective to how much Columbus was changing."

The one constant as the years passed, says O'Brien, was that Columbus kept changing, kept evolving. And so he kept subscribing, kept reading. "There was always something [in the magazine] that I didn't know much about that I'd find interesting. And after all these years, this now being my hometown, I wanted to know what was going on."

O'Brien says he's been a Columbus Crew season ticket holder since the team debuted, even though he says he'd never seen a soccer game before. He's owned a partial-season ticket package to the Blue Jackets every year since the team's inauguration. He's been a subscriber to CAPA's Broadway series for 25 years.

"Several years ago, I knew someone who moved from a small town to Toledo, and from Toledo to Columbus, and from Columbus to Phoenix and finally to San Francisco. They were looking for a place that had what they wanted. But they didn't really know what they wanted," says O'Brien. "I asked them if they ever took advantage of the opportunities that were available in Columbus, and they said, 'Oh, there's nothing to do in Columbus.' I asked them, 'Have you been to the football games or the soccer games? Did you go to the museums? Did you go to the theater?' They hadn't done any of it."

"While they were looking, Columbus was getting better. It's so much bigger, and there are so many more opportunities now than there used to be," O'Brien says. "And the mentality of the residents has changed too. I think people are out experiencing things. More people are doing things. And that's good. I still think Columbus has some room to grow. We'll dream big, but then we still scale it down, thinking, 'We'll never be big enough to justify doing that.' I think we can go big."

Thanks for your 41 years as a loyal reader, Michael, and to all of our readers. Happy holidays.